No fewer than 10 persons were killed while 25 shops and houses were razed as an early morning fire tore through the sleepy neighborhood of Kabong in Gada Biu area of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Among the victims were said to be a man, his wife and child as well as others identified as Mrs Peter Christy, Mr Silas Oyibo, Mr Isaac Monday, Mr Adejo David and his wife Naomi together with one of their children.
The Nation gathered that the incident, which occurred at about 2 am yesterday, started when one of the high tension wires snapped and fell on a transformer that serves the neighbourhood.
The resultant explosion was said to have caused a huge fire that spread to nearby shops and residential apartments, torching every item within reach, especially electronic gadgets like sound systems, fridges, fans and air conditioners.
An eyewitness said the fire set the entire area alight as goods and personal items went up in flames.
Another eyewitness, who identified himself as Steven John, said the fire was mysterious as only the goods and personal effects in the shops were affected while the buildings were intact.
Jihn said: “The fire started at about 2 am and quickly spread to some isolated shops and houses.
“Indeed, it was a mysterious fire. You can see that it is only the goods and personal belongings that were burnt, leaving the buildings and roofs intact.”
While some of the victims died on the spot, our correspondent gathered that others gave up the ghost at the Bingham University Teaching Hospital (Jankwano) where the were rushed to.
The Public Relations Officer of Plateau State Police Command, Alfred Alabo, who confirmed the incident, said that six persons were killed.
He said the fire was suspected to have been caused by a power surge.
Alabo said: “We are carrying out investigation to know the real cause of the incident. But we suspect that it was caused by a power surge.
In a statement issued by its Head of Corporate Communications, Dr Friday Adakole, yesterday, the Jos Electricity Distribution Plc expressed sadness over the incident.
The electricity distribution company extended its sympathy to the families of those who encountered losses during the incident.
The statement said: “Jos Electricity Distribution Plc is anguished by the unfortunate incident at about 0313 hours today, affecting customers on our Kabong primary distribution transformer in the Kabong area, Rukuba Road, Jos.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the accident was a result of a high-tension line snap onto the low-tension lines which resulted in a voltage supply outside limits.
“The source feeder tripped off and inter-tripped the transmission end source from Makeri Transmission Station.
“We will continue to be monitoring the situation closely and communicate the facts of this regrettable incident.
“Equally, an evaluation of the root causes is underway, and appropriate measures will be put in place to avert future occurrences.
“We express our deepest sympathies to families who have encountered losses as a result of this incident.
“We are grateful to traditional and community leaders in the area for all their support in managing the effects of the accident.