By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—ONE person was feared dead in Benin yesterday, following an early morning fire caused by an explosion of a fully-loaded petroleum tanker.
About six vehicles parked by the sides of the road and two blocks of shops were also consumed by the fire.
According to an eyewitness, the truck fell on the Benin-Abuja dual carriageway at Upper Mission Road Junction, Aduwawa area, at about 6:48a.m., while the explosion occurred about one hour after.
It was learned that immediately the tanker fell, drivers and passers-by started scooping fuel, leading to traffic congestion.
The eyewitness, who spoke to newsmen at the scene of the inferno, said the tanker exploded as an Audi car tried to manoeuvre his way through the traffic. But the eyewitness could not say if the young man caught in the fire was the driver.
Meanwhile, a shop owner, Mrs. Deborah Afubeli, whose provision shop was razed, said she lost goods worth over N2 million to the explosion.
Some residents of the area blamed the condition of the expressway for the accident, describing it as a death trap.
Speaking at the scene of the accident, the Director of the Edo State Fire Service, Mr. Franklin Agbonlahor, said the explosion was put out shortly after his team received a distress call at about 8:30a.m.
He blamed the driver of the Audi car for the accident, saying he refused to heed instructions when flagged down.
He said: “The fire was brought under control. A vehicle defied instructions of people that were flagging vehicles down. Immediately he came to the tanker, fire was ignited.”