An early-morning inferno occasioned by petrol tanker explosion on Sunday razed Ajebamidele community along Ondo road in Ife South Local Government Area of Osun State, leading to the death of no fewer than 15 people.
Ajebamidele, an agrarian community of less than 150 inhabitants and located on Ile-Ife/Ondo road shares boundary with communities in both Ondo and Osun States.
Our correspondent who witnessed a part of the tragic incident was reliably informed by some victims of the fire incident that the inferno started by 3.00am.
At about 7.00am when our correspondent visited the scene of the incident, the tanker whose identity could not be ascertained was seen burning alongside some houses.
It was gathered that the driver of the tanker ran away when the fire started, apparently for fear of being attacked by residents of the community.
The fire which started from the main road after the tanker had crashed into a deep pothole later extended to the residences of the villagers.
The fire which was aided by the harmathan weather in the area affected no fewer than 12 houses.
The houses that caught fire were burnt down completely, while inhabitants of the houses were taken unawares.
It was gathered that a couple simply identified as “Daddy and Mummy Rose” and their two children who were living in a hamlet were affected by the inferno while many others whose identities were unknown were also affected.
Also, some residents of the community who narrowly escaped, sustained serious injuries.
Our correspondent gathered that residents of neighbouring communities including Omifunfun and Olode assisted to put out the fire and also rescued some victims of the fire disaster.
The tragic incident also caused heavy traffic congestion on the road as vehicles could not pass the busy road for hours until the fire stopped.
Residents of the community were as a result of the incident thrown into mourning as many of them were seen crying, even as they condemned the incident.
A community leader in the town, Mr Saka Olatunji said the situation was aggravated by the non availability of water in the village, lamenting that “water was not available to put off the fire. We went to neighboring villages before we could get sufficient water.”
Also, he lamented that distress calls put to the state Fire Service was not attended to until the fire stopped.