Students and management of Caritas University, Amorji-Nike, Enugu, Nigeria are in a state of apprehension following a gas fire outbreak in the school compound.
The fire was still raging when SaharaReporters visited the scene of the incident on Friday morning, which some residents said had started on Wednesday morning at about 9 am.
Some staff members of the university and government emergency responders were seen close to the scene, discussing in clusters, while a bulldozer was pushing earth to the scene.
Residents who spoke to SaharaReporters said that the fire was ignited when people drilling water in the school compound noticed an unusual smell coming out from the hole and tried to put fire in it.
One of the people working on the drilling site was reported to have been partially burnt, before he was rushed to National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu for treatment.
It was gathered that the borehole drillers had struck a gas bed without noticing it, which had caused a major leakage of natural gas.
Following the incident, the school management was said to have asked students to go home till further notice.
Meanwhile, the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has said it received a report about a raging fire in Enugu State.
Director-General of NOSDRA, Mr Idris Musa, was quoted in the report as saying that the gas leakage was caused by water drilling activities which hit a gas reservoir at Emene.
Musa, who described the flammable gas discharged as natural gas, said that emergency response efforts were underway to avert disaster from the incident.
“There is a natural gas problem at a borehole drilling point at Caritas University, Emene-Enugu.
“In the course of drilling very deep to reach the aquifer, the drilling hit the gas level.
“The Chief Executive of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has been notified.
“The Zonal Head of National Emergency Management Agency has secured the assistance of both Federal and State Fire Services
“Efforts are ongoing to secure more technical assistance to bring the situation under control,” Musa said on Thursday night.
However, efforts to get the official reaction from the university, which is founded by a Catholic priest, Rev Fr Emmanuel Ede, were not successful as the school security barred SaharaReporters from gaining entrance.