NNEWI , Nigeria, A gas plant explosion and five-hour fire near Nnewi, Nigeria, killed at least four people, possibly dozens more Friday.
Local media reported up to 100 people died, including employees of the gas plant, but the Red Cross confirmed four people dead with their bodies burned beyond recognition and four more injured with severe burns. The Red Cross estimate is expected to rise.
A truck dispersing natural gas exploded as hundreds of people lined up with empty gas cylinders to obtain cooking gas for use during the Christmas holidays, a common procedure in rural Nigeria. A witness said the truck discharged the gas without waiting for time for the gas to cool.
Other witnesses described a huge fire, with black smoke hanging over the scene for hours.
The incident occurred near the city of Nnewi, a largely Christian city of 400,000 in southern Nigeria.
By Ed Adamczyk