From TONY OSAUZO, Benin
Like all accidents that happen without giving notice, no one expected Wednesday’s raging fire caused by petrol tanker which claimed one life and burnt 13 vehicles along 3rd East Circular Road, popularly known as Murtala Mohammed Way, Benin City.
The petrol tanker laden with fuel was said to be heading from Sapele Road to Ikpoba slope within the Benin metropolis when few metres from Edo College, it veered off the road and fell into a gutter as a result of brake failure.
Soon after, fuel began to leak from the tanker and sensing “Armageddon”, people began to flee with vehicle owners abandoning their vehicles on the road.
A commercial bus driver, Kingsley Oghagbon who had earlier abandoned his bus but returned to retrieve it ended up igniting the fire that consumed him and his vehicle, including others when he switched-on his ignition in an attempt to drive off.
If the death of Oghagbon was tragic, the story of Pa. Paul Isibor, a septuagenarian was pathetic.
He had, a week earlier bought a Nissan patrol SUV which got consumed by the raging fire right in front of his house, opposite Esigie junction where he parked it.
Narrrrating the incident, Pa. Isibor said: “When I heard the noise of the trailer making gbim, and petrol begin to flow, then people started to run for their dear lives and then I called all my children and we all gathered to save the lives of my children. And within a second, fire started to come out of the tanker and the whole road was filled with fire.
“I have never witnessed such a thing in my life. Later, fire started flowing on the road, burning everything. When the fire entered my jeep, the Tuke-Tuke (commercial bus) close to it also caught fire.
“Myself and my children have to run for our dear lives, but I am happy that despite the injuries we sustained, no life was lost.
“I thank most of the youths in the area who helped to put off the fire.
Most of the water in the bore-hole nearby was used, including sachet water which they have to burst and put omo to put down the fire till Fire Brigade came to put-off the fire.
“As God would have it, this house did not burn because if it had burned, it would have been the end of my life.”