By Chioma Gabriel
A tanker explosion yesterday rocked a petrol station along Nike Lake road by Penoks Junction, Trans Ekulu, Enugu, in Abakpa town in Enugu State, destroying properties worth billions of naira.
It was gathered that the blast was triggered by a cooking gas tanker loading products at about 9 am.The petrol station called Juhel petrol station was gutted by the resultant fire which also spread to nearby shops, vehicles and houses. Men of the fire service successfully put out the fire without reports of casualties.
Following the fire outbreak, the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi visited the scene of the tanker explosion where residents of the area commended the Enugu government for the swift intervention and expertise displayed by officers and men of Enugu State Fire Service in putting out the fire, without any loss of life.
The inferno according to eye witnesses was caused by a truck discharging liquefied gas at the filling station, which lost control and hit the dispensing nozzle and ignited the fire.
The State Fire Service upon receiving a distress call rushed to the scene and put out the fire which affected the petrol station, a commercial bus, a transformer, three shops and a residential building, shortly before Governor Ugwuanyi, his deputy, Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, the Speaker of the State Assembly, Edward Ubosi and the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Danmallam Mohammed arrived the scene.
Reacting to the development, residents of the area expressed delight over the commitment, bravery and professionalism exhibited by the men and officers of the State Fire Service, stressing that this is the first time an inferno of such magnitude occurred without any loss of life.
Mr. Vincent Okonkwo, a near-by shop owner said: “Our governor has surprised us today. If you were here when this fire started, you will not believe that these fire men would quench it. We thought that was the end of everything we have, our shops, houses, vehicles and even the lives of people around here.
“In short, I saw hell today, but the way the fire service worked to stop this fire was a surprise to everybody. We thank God and our governor and those that quenched it”.
Another resident, Mrs. Priscilla Udeh said: “We are very grateful to God for saving us from this danger. We equally thank our governor, Gburugburu, for sending these people on time to come and stop this dangerous fire. God is truly with us in this state.
Arriving the scene, Ugwuanyi, who expressed gratitude to God that no life was lost, commended the State Fire Service for the efficient and quick intervention, and equally thanked the people in the neigbourhood for their cooperation.
The governor maintained that Enugu State is safe, stressing that with the report that no life was lost, “I am now convinced more than ever before that Enugu State is truly in the hands of God”.
He sympathized with the victims and promised to take immediate action to ameliorate the pains and replace the burnt transformer for the people of the area to continue to enjoy power supply. The governor therefore, directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to commence action in that regard.
Earlier, the State Fire Officer, Mr. Okwudili Oha, disclosed that the fire outbreak was massive, pointing out that it would have done serious damage if not for the quick intervention of the State Fire Service.
The Fire Officer thanked the residents for their support and cooperation and particularly the governor for equipping and repositioning the establishment, which he said made the work easy for them.
He therefore, appealed to the public to take precautionary measures and be vigilant to avert further fire outbreak in the state, especially in this period of Harmattan.