By Tony Edike
ENUGU – No fewer than 60 students of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), yesterday, narrowly. escaped death following a mysterious fire that engulfed the Coal City Shuttle bus conveying them from the
permanent site of the institution in Agbani, Nkanu West council to city centre.
The bus belonging to Enugu State Ministry of Transport is among the ones recently procured y the state government to boost urban transport scheme of the Sullivan Chime administration.
Although there were no deaths, eyewitnesses said that many of the students and other passengers sustained serious injuries in the near stampede that resulted while escaping to safety through the widows and other exit available spaces in the bus.
It was further learnt that valuables including Laptops and handsets belonging to the students were completely destroyed by the fire which occurred around 2.00pm near the Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS) junction.
One of the victims and a Computer Science student of the ESUT, Miss Ebere Okechi said the fire was discovered by
people outside the vehicle.
” I lost my Nokia phone, all the passengers inside the vehicle did not know that the shuttle bus was burning, outsiders were shouting fire, fire before we started jumping out from the bus.” she said.
The coordinator of the Coal City Shuttle Bus, Nnaemeka Ojibe, said the fire was caused by faulty battery.
He dismissed allegations that the shuttle buses were not well maintained, stressing that they “are adequately taken care of”.
Although operatives of the Enugu State Fire Service arrived swiftly, the mysterious fire succeeded in destroying almost all the vital parts of the bus and valuables of passengers.
They however succeeded in preventing the fire from spreading.
In a related development, a Duplex located along Brown and Brown in Independence Layout Enugu was gutted by fire around 11am yesterday but no life was lost to the inferno.