By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI—Passengers on board a commercial bus narrowly escaped death yesterday as the vehicle, an L-300 Mitsubushi, burst into flames along Ezza Road, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
The fire, which started in the vehicle’s engine, burnt all the passengers’ luggage.
Vanguard learned that the driver noticed an anomaly in the engine when he stopped momentarily to pick a secondary school student (names withheld).
A passenger recounted her experience: “After putting the schoolgirl’s luggage into the boot of the bus, the driver had hardly opened the bus for his passenger, when he noticed thick smoke emitting from the engine.
“As he rushed to open the boot, he was greeted by an outburst of flames and melting wires. All efforts to put out the fire proved abortive, as he had no fire extinguisher.”
It was also gathered that the passengers, who noticed the intensity of fire emitting from the engine, scampered for safety.
One of the passengers, identified as Mr. Eze Daniel, argued that the fire could not have escalated the way it did, if the driver of the bus had fire extinguisher.
When Vanguard visited the scene of the incident, there was no fire service personnel in the area as, policemen made frantic efforts to avert undue vehicular traffic.