…5 arrested as police, hoodlums clash over scooping of fuel
Abeokuta A woman and her grandchild were yesterday burnt to death in a petrol tanker explosion in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The accident happened at the failed portion of the road in popular Lafenwa market in the state capital. The tanker fully loaded with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol had early yesterday overturned when its axle broke while making its way inbound Rounder from Oju-Irin, Lafenwa area of Abeokuta, spilling its content.
The tanker exploded when officials of the state Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE) and other security agencies were trying to trans-load the content of the tanker into another.
Several shops, stalls and goods worth millions of naira were also destroyed by the raging fire. Pandemonium however broke a few hours after the incident when some traders and hoodlums in the market began scooping the fuel from the ill-fated tanker but, were stopped by the police
This development angered the hoodlums who reportedly ignited fire that triggered the explosion.
New Telegraph gathered that, the police shot two of the hoodlums in the cause of controlling the situation while some others were arrested. Few other shops were reportedly looted by the hoodlums before they were chased away by the police.
Five men of the state fire service were beaten by the hoodlums while attempting to put out the fire. The hoodlums reportedly pounced on the fire service men for not arriving earlier to save the lives and property that were consumby the fire.
The angry mob also destroyed the vehicles of the fire service men and the patrol vans of TRACE while some security operatives who were on rescue operation were also pelted with stones.
The state sector commander of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ahmed Umar who confirmed the number of casualties to New Telegraph said, the victims were burnt beyond recognition.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of TRACE, Babatunde Akinbiyi while confirming the incident lamented that some residents went to the scene, scooping fuel and engaged in other unwholesome acts, “which regrettably sparked off the fire which engulfed the whole area said, “two lives were lost in the unfortunate inferno, that of a grandmother and grandchild, whose gender cannot be ascertained, while property worth millions of naira were also destroyed.”
He explained that the corpses had been deposited at the morgue of the state general hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta.