A huge explosion at a butane gas depot in the industrial town of Nnewi, Anambra State, south-eastern Nigeria, on December 24th, has left ‘tens’ of people dead, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari said, reported BBC.

According to some reports, up to 100 people are believed to have been killed as the explosion had rocked the Inter Corp Oil Limited’s LPG Gas Plant, a subsidiary of Chicason Group. Many workers had been trapped in the fire. By the time firefighters managed to put out the blaze, a reporter for Associated Press in the predominantly Christian community informed about charred remains of more than 100 people. A local journalist at the scene said that most of the dead had been customers at the plant or people who lived nearby, Reuters added.

The fire raged for more than five hours before being extinguished and the area was crowded as many customers had come to the plant to fill up their gas bottles to cook meals on Christmas Day. Another local journalist said that the blast had been sparked as truck exploded, discharging  cooking gas without waiting for the mandatory cooling time.

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

‘The gas plant was completely destroyed and several houses around the scene damaged,’ Red Cross spokesman, Peter Kachi said. according to MailOnline. Accidents are a frequent occurrence in the country, and pipelines are often damaged by people stealing crude oil.