Property and other valuables believed to worth millions of naira were burnt yesterday when a fuel tanker crashed and exploded in Delta State. The incident occurred on the ever-busy Asaba-Agbor-Onitsha Expressway at Ekwuoma town in Ika North East Local Government Area. The explosion occurred when a vehicle trying to overtake the truck hit the tanker.
The tanker driver tried to avoid crushing the smaller vehicle but lost control. The tanker fell and exploded. An indigene of the community, who identified himself simply as Meshe, confirmed the accident in Asaba yesterday. He said: “Immediately the tanker fell, there was tension in the town as it generated a lot of dust that prevented residents and passers-by from knowing the impact. It suddenly went up in flames.” Meshe said the fire immediately spread to a one-storey building and two other residential houses and burnt them completely.
A Hausa man, Saliu Muhammed, who hails from Maiduguri, Borno State, who was fast asleep in one of the burnt buildings, escaped death narrowly. He was rescued unhurt. The fire spread to a nearby duplex but was saved by a private water tanker shuttling the route. But the fire burnt a portion of the building. Muhammed said nobody died but lamented that he lost all he had laboured for to the fire.
He said: “I couldn’t pick anything from my apartment. What I am wearing now was what I wore when I was sleeping. I woke up to see fire but people rescued me.” Muhammed said for over four hours that the fire wreaked havoc on the community, ancestral trees, farms and residential homes, men of the Fire Service did not show up.
He said they only arrived after the fire had consumed the property and the people had resigned to fate. An indigene, Mrs. Ndudi, said she saved his neighbour’s children from being burnt. She said: “They were going close to the road. I stopped them.
They were playing with me. While waiting, the tanker was coming from Asaba to Agbor, what we heard was a loud sound of a vehicle that fell close to us. As it fell, dust covered everywhere. “The next thing we saw was fire. My neighbour’s children were running and I joined them but as we were running, the fire was following us behind. The fire burnt the entire house but no life was lost. “We called Agbor, they said their fire truck was bad. We called Onicha-Ugbo, they said they had no gas. It was Asaba Fire Service officers who came at last.”