About 15 pupils of Divine Wisdom Group of Schools, Amosun area in Lagelu Local Government Area of Oyo State were injured in a fire outbreak on Wednesday as the school bus conveying them to school suddenly caught fire.
The affected pupils, who were said to be between ages five and 11, were rushed to the Accident and Emergency Unit of the University College Hospital, Ibadan. They were said to have suffered various degrees of burns.
The bus driver, Mr. Serif Oyedele, who gave the account, said that he drove to Iyana Church area of the city around 8:10am after picking some pupils from the bus stop when the engine of the bus (Ford) suddenly stopped working.
He said, “As a mechanic, I checked the engine to rectify the problem. The cables on the battery terminal had pulled out. So, I fixed it and asked some of the pupils to push the bus to start. People in the neighbourhood immediately alerted me that the engine was dripping with fuel only for me to discover that the bus was already on fire.”
Efforts were made to evacuate the pupils who were reportedly trapped in the bus out. Staff of Oando Filling Station in the neighbourhood allegedly helped to put out the fire some minutes after.
However, some of the pupils were said to have been severely burnt, while those pushing the bus to start escaped unhurt.
The driver had his hands, legs and thigh burnt while trying to rescue some of the pupils. “I was only able to rescue six of them, including my five-year-old child who sat beside me in front of the bus,” he said.
The school premises were deserted when our correspondent visited the place. The affected pupils taken to the UCH were said to be responding to treatment at the hospital.
However, some of the parents of the injured pupils were seeing crying and requesting to see their children. Two of the parents, who identified themselves as Mrs. Eluagha and Ogunleye, said that they regretted asking their children to go to school on Wednesday.
The Proprietress of the school, Mrs. Oke Ejemuta, who was said to have ordered the closure of the school, told our correspondent at the hospital, “Eight pupils were brought to the UCH and another four were brought again, making 12. We thank God. We were told that they were all responding to treatment. It is the arrow of the devil.
“You can confirm from the parents, we bought the school bus (a J5 bus) last year, so it is a new vehicle. We hired the service of a driver-mechanic so that he can deploy his experience anytime there is need for it. We want to implore the parents to be calm.”
Source: PUNCH (punchng.com)