The death toll from a suspected gas explosion that tore through a residential area of Nigeria’s biggest city Lagos rose to 19 on Monday as emergency services dug bodies from the debris.

The blast next to an oil pipeline destroyed buildings, lorries, and cars as it tore through a residential area of the sprawling city on Sunday.

An AFP reporter at the scene on Monday saw two bodies that were pulled out from the debris of a collapsed building by an excavator raising the death toll to 19.

Rescue officials told AFP they would work with residents of the area to conduct a house-to-house search for more bodies.

The government had earlier said 17 bodies were recovered and that 25 people were being treated for injuries.

“Efforts are on to determine the cause of the explosion that has left many homeless,” the Lagos state government wrote on Twitter.

The incident happened at around 8:00 am (0700 GMT) on Sunday and destroyed around 50 buildings in the residential district of Abule Ado.

The state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said preliminary indications showed the initial blast was caused by a truck that “hit gas bottles stacked up in a gas processing plant”.

“The impact of the explosion was so huge that it led to the collapse of nearby houses and damage to an NNPC pipeline,” the company added.

Managing Director Mele Kyari said a fire-spewing from the pipeline was put out late Sunday and maintenance crews were working to fix the damaged section.


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