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Families were getting ready to have a great holiday when tragedy struck at a southeastern Nigerian gas plant.

According to The Guardian, “tens of people” were lining up to refill their cooking gas cylinders when a huge explosion occurred.

The site reports:

A butane tanker ignited a huge explosion at a crowded industrial plant in Nigeria on Thursday, killing “tens of people” who were lining up to refill their cooking gas cylinders in time for Christmas, the presidency said.

The disaster took place in Nnewi, a predominantly Christian city in south-east Nigeria.

“My heart and prayers go out to these grieving families at this difficult and painful moment,” President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement.

A witness, Emeka Peters, said the fire broke out at about 11am when a lorry that had finished discharging fresh gas at the Chikason Group Gas plant left without waiting to observe the prescribed cooling time.

The witness goes on to say many people were burned “beyond recognition:”

“The fire exploded like a bomb and the whole gas station went up in thick, black smoke amidst an explosion from cooking gas cylinders,” Peters said. “Many people were killed and most of them were those that had been in the station queuing all day to get their cylinders refilled.”

Peters, 36, said the fire raged for hours. He said most of the bodies and some badly injured victims were evacuated to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University teaching hospital in Nnewi.

“Many of them were burned beyond recognition and I doubt if many family members of the dead victims would be able to identify the remains of their loved ones,” said Peters.

We pray for the victims and their families at this time.

SOURCE: The Guardian | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

WE PRAY: Dozens Reportedly Killed In Nigerian Gas Plant Explosion  was originally published on globalgrind.com