Scenes as the fire rages
By Egufe Yafugborhi
WARRI – ANOTHER pipeline fire, the second in the spate of three weeks, on the fringe of the Army Barracks along the Effurun-Sapele Road, Delta state left several cars burnt and those on transit held in gridlock as vehicular movement between Warri and Sapele was caused by a heavy guard of military personnel yesterday.
The raging fire was said to have been ignited at about 10am by a spark from a power electricity cable fell by a heavy duty equipment into a pool of crude oil which observers noticed has been spilling from a ruptured pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in the past three days.
Efforts by our reporter to have a pictorial capture of the blazing fire and the damage done was rebuffed by the military guards who smashed several media gadgets belonging to by-passers who attempted capturing the drama as fire fighters struggle in vain to quench the fire.
A fire fighter who spoke to a Vanguard on anonymity said, “The pipeline belongs to NNPC. They were here three days ago to arrest the oil spill situation when it was noticed, but we came back today on further intervention only to run into this fire situation.”
A spare parts dealer at the popular Mechanic Village opposite the spill point noted, “Spillages have been rampant on this line and the company has not been proactive in its clean up efforts. We hard barely forgotten the one that happened a stone throw from this spot a couple of weeks back, now we are faced with another fire which has burnt dome several vehicles.”
Several vehicles coming from Lagos and Northern states and those from opposite Eastern and South South states were barred from passing through the fire point in what the NNPC officials said was a safety measure to guard against fatalities in the effort to quench the fire.
Calls put across to Ohi Elegbe, NNPC Group Public Affairs Manager were not responded to as the fire was still raging.