By Ugochukwu Alaribe
Property worth over N50 million was on Friday morning consumed by a tanker explosion along the ever busy Aba – Owerri road in Aba, Abia State. Vanguard gathered that the explosion burnt about seven vehicles, four tricycles and destroyed commercial and residential buildings. The inferno was still flaming as at 4pm.
An eyewitness, Augustine Anosike said that the truck loaded with diesel was entering a filling station along the Aba-Owerri road to discharge its content when it suddenly caught fire and exploded.
“The tanker was going into the opposite filling Station. While the driver was trying to reverse, the body of the truck pulled out from the head and discharged its content on the road.
We made efforts to stop oncoming vehicles to avert the impending dangers. But a commercial driver refused to stop and drove on the diesel. I suspect that the heat from the bus exhaust pipe was what ignited the fire and before you knew what was happening, everywhere up was in flames,” Anosike said.
A shop owner in the area, Nnenna Ogbugo, told Vanguard that if not for the timely arrival of the men of the Fire, more properties would have been lost in the inferno.
The body of a 911 truck which was said to have run into a nearby compound to escape the inferno, was also burnt in the process, including a car which stopped by a vulcanizer’s shop along the road.
A resident of one of the burnt buildings, Mr. Emmanuel Kingsley thanked God for sparing the lives of his brothers and other members of his family, he described the incident as one of the terrible experiences he has had in life.
An official of the Abia state Fire Service who declined to have his name on print, said the damage would have been worse if the content was Petroleum Motor Spirit ,PMS.
When our correspondent visited the area at about 4pm, men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, were on hand directing traffic.
Aba Unit Commander, FRSC, Okora Awassam, who lamented the attitude of truck drivers on the road, said her agency has held a lot of enlightenment programmes to educate the drivers on the need to be safety conscious at all times.