One killed, 6 vehicles burnt in Edo tanker explosion

AT least one person was feared killed in Benin following an early morning accident caused by an explosion of a fuel-laden tanker.

At least six vehicles parked by the sides of the road and two blocks of shops were also consumed by the fire that accompanied the explosion.

According to eyewitness, the fuel-laden truck fell on the expressway at Upper Mission Road junction in Aduwawa area at about 6:48am, while the explosion occurred about one hour after the tanker had fallen.

It was learnt that immediately the tanker fell, some people, including drivers and passersby, started scooping fuel coming  out of the fallen tanker into jerry cans.

The situation created traffic jam on the ever busy section of the road even as some official arrived the scene to divert traffic from the fallen tanker.

Eyewitness, who spoke with our reporter at the scene of the inferno, said an explosion suddenly occurred when an Audi taxi driver, drove into the side of flowing fuel.

They said that shortly after the tanker fell, some officials arrived the scene to control traffic and condone off traffic around the fallen tanker.

They added that the explosion occurred when the driver of the Audi car drove into the area of the fallen tanker while trying to manoeuvre his way through the traffic jam.

An unidentified young man was described as the biggest victim of the explosion with many expressing doubts about his survival due to the degree of his burnt.

His torso and hands were said to have been severely burnt in the explosion before he was rushed to the hospital

About three other persons were said to have sustained different degrees of burnt in the accident.

Meanwhile, shops and some vulcanisers, who were affected by the inferno, have started counting their losses.

A shop owner, Mrs Deborah Afubeli, whose provision shop was razed, said she lost goods worth about N2 million to the explosion.

Some residents of the area, who spoke with our reporter, blamed the condition of the expressway for the accident, liking the road to 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 extinguished shortly after his team received a distress call at about 8:30am.

He blamed the driver of the Audi car for the accident, saying he refused to heed instructions when flagged down.

He said, “The story is positive; the fire was brought under ‎control. A vehicle defied instructions of people that were flagging vehicles down when this happened. Immediately he came across the tanker, fire was ignited.

“So, road users should try as much as possible to have patience. When there is a distress situation, they should try and listen to anybody flagging you down. Life has no spare parts.”