The Catholic Dioceses of Nnewi, Anambra, on Sunday said the late Rev. Fr. Edmund Nwagbara, might have died from inhaling toxic fume from the inverter battery in his apartment which exploded.

Nwagbara was the Parish Priest of St. Peter Clavar Catholic Church, Nnewi Ichi, Nnewi.

He died in a fire which engulfed the parish house on Saturday night and his body was burnt beyond recognition.

The Chancellor of the Diocese, Rev. Fr Hyginus Aghaulor, gave the explanation in a statement release by the Dioceses on the death.

He said that Rev. Fr. John Obasi, the first Assistant Parish Priest of the church, was also affected but escaped with burn injuries.

According to him, Nwagbara might have died from toxic fumes from the inverter battery in his apartment.

Aghaulor said that the priest had conducted sacrament of reconciliation for a couple he was to conduct wedding for on the morning he died.

“At about 2.30a.m., there was a big bang coming from Fr. Edmund’s (Nwagbara) room that woke some people up. But already, his apartment was in in flames.

“Fire Service were called and they managed to come in ‘our Nigerian way of approaching such issues.

“ Neighbours tried to put out the fire but it was simply like a hell.

“When eventually the Fire Service gained entrance into Fr. Edumund’s apartment, he was already burnt beyond recognition.

”It’s very likely that the fire came from the inverter in his room. When it was heated up, the battery blew up like a bomb.

“Looking at late Fr. Edmund’s remains, he didn’t look like someone that struggled before dying.

“The toxin from the burning battery which he must have been inhaling slowly in his sleep might have killed him before the actual fire burnt him.

“One would expect someone struggling or trying to escape to die very close to the door or at a corner and not to relax on his bed,” he said.

Aghaulor expressed a deep sense of loss in the Diocese and prayed God to grant repose to the soul of the dead and quick recovery for the wounded.

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