Early morning tanker fire kills one in Benin

Early morning tanker fire kills one in Benin

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 3:58 pm

The NNPC tanker

The NNPC tanker

Jethro Ibileke/Benin

An early morning accident caused by an explosion of a fuel-laden tanker which occurred on Wednesday, along the Benin/Auchi expressway, in Benin, has left at least one person dead. ‎

The raging inferno that accompanied the explosion also consumed six vehicles parked by the road sides and two blocks of shops.

Eyewitness account has it that the fuel-laden truck fell on the expressway at Upper Mission Road junction in Aduwawa area at about 6:48 a.m, while the explosion occurred about one hour after the tanker had fallen.

It was gathered that immediately the tanker fell, some people, including commercial bus drivers and passersby started scooping fuel coming  out of the fallen tanker into plastic cans.

The situation led too traffic gridlock on both sides of the ever busy section of the road. Not even the arrival of some officials shortly after the tanker fell, at the scene who tried to divert traffic from the fallen tanker could save the situation.

Eyewitnesses who spoke with our reporter at the scene of the inferno, said an explosion suddenly occurred when an Audi taxi cab driver, drove through the side of  flowing fuel.

According to them, the explosion occurred when the driver of the audi car, drove into the area of the fallen tanker while trying to manoeuvre his way through the traffic gridlock.

An unidentified young man who was described as the biggest victim of the explosion, was said to have sustained serious degree of burnt, with many expressing doubts about his survival.

His torso and hands were said to have been severely burnt in the explosion before he was rushed to the hospital

Also, three other persons were said to have sustained varying degrees of burnt in the accident.

Some of the burnt vehicles

Some of the burnt vehicles

Meanwhile, shops and some vulcanisers, who were affected by the inferno have started counting their losses.

One of the shop owners, Mrs. Deborah Afubeli, whose provision shop was razed, said she lost goods worth about N2 million to the explosion.

Other residents of the area who spoke to journalists, blamed the condition of the expressway for the accident. They liked the road to a death trap.

When contacted, the Director of the Edo State Fire Service, Mr. Franklin Agbonlahor, said the explosion was extinguished shortly after his team received a distress call at about 8:30am.

He blamed the driver of the Audi car for the accident, saying he refused to heed instructions when flagged down.

“The story is positive; the fire was brought under ‎control. A vehicle defied instructions of people that were flagging vehicles down when this happened. Immediately he came across the tanker, fire was ignited,” Agbonlahor said.

He advised road users to be patient while driving on the road, adding,

The NNPC tanker

The NNPC tanker

“When there is a distress situation, they should try and listen to anybody flagging you down. Life has no spare parts.”

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