An unspecified number of people were feared dead in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Saturday night following an explosion at a gas station located along the Arakale Road area of the city.
Many others were injured in the incident which spread panic across the city, witnesses said.
Some residents initially thought it was a bomb attack masterminded by the extremist Boko Haram sect, which has somehow confined its activities to the north of Nigeria.
Witnesses said the explosion first sounded at about 7pm as gas was being sold to customers.
The resulting fire soon spread to other parts of the station, and then to cars and buildings nearby.
Fire officials were slow in arriving the scene, but when they eventually approached, some protesting residents were seen pelting them with stones and other objects.
Soldiers from the nearby 32 Artillery Brigade had to be called in to help restore order so the fire officials could be allowed to do their job.
It is not clear how many people died or were injured as at the time of filing this report.
But witnesses suggested “quite a number of people were killed and injured” in the incident.