After Gas Explosion, Nigerian Nun Died Saving Students at Boarding School

Attending Mass at the time, Sr. Henrietta reportedly rescued the students trapped in a building at the school before the roof caved in.

Sister Henrietta Alokha of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus died while rescuing students at Bethlehem Girls High School in Lagos, Nigeria, after a gas explosion March 15, 2020.
Sister Henrietta Alokha of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus died while rescuing students at Bethlehem Girls High School in Lagos, Nigeria, after a gas explosion March 15, 2020. (photo: Bethlehem Girls School in Lagos, Nigeria. )

LAGOS, Nigeria — The principal and a security guard at Bethlehem Girls High School in Lagos died Sunday while helping students escape a burning building following the explosion of a gas pipeline.

At least 17 people died as a result of the March 15 explosion, which occurred after a truck hit stacked gas bottles at a processing plant near a pipeline.

“Sr. Henrietta Alokha and other staff that died have paid the supreme price in their bid to lead all her students to safety. May their souls rest in peace,” Archbishop Alfred Martins of Lagos said March 16.

Sr. Henrietta of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus reportedly rescued the students trapped in a building at the school before the roof caved in. They were attending Mass at the time, and Archbishop Martins said the priest who was saying the Mass “helped in rescuing the students and he himself is safe.”

Some of the students are in the hospital, while the others have been released to their parents.

“We want to state that all students of the school were reported safe,” the archbishop added. More than 250 girls attend the school.

He commended the government and non-government agencies that showed up at the fire scene “for their prompt response which ensured that the situation did not get worse.”

“We wish to commiserate with the families of all those who died in this sad incident,” the archbishop said. “We pray for the repose of the souls of the departed and the quick healing of those who were injured. We pray to the Lord to provide for the needs of all those who lost their properties, in the sad event. Our prayer at this period is that the Good Lord will grant eternal rest to the faithful departed and strengthen all of us with the fortitude to bear the effect of this disaster.”

Some 100 houses in the area of the explosion caught fire.

Representing the Holy Spirit that descended “like a dove” and hovered over Jesus when he was baptized.

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