From Tony Osauzo, Benin
One person was feared killed yesterday in Benin, following an early morning accident caused by an explosion of a fuel-laden tanker.
The resulting fire from the explosion razed two blocks of shops and, at least, six vehicles parked by the sides of the road.
Eyewitness account said the fuel-laden truck fell on the expressway at Upper Mission Road junction in Aduwawa area at about 6:48 am, while the explosion occurred about one hour after the incident.
Some residents of the area and drivers reportedly engaged in scooping fuel from the tanker into jerry cans shortly after it fell, thereby, creating traffic jam on the ever busy section of the road.
Observers blamed the condition of the expressway for the accident, liking the road to a death trap.
It was learnt that after the tanker fell, some officials arrived the scene to condone off traffic around the fallen tanker, but the explosion suddenly occurred when an Audi taxi driver, drove into the side of flowing fuel.
A young man whose identity could not be ascertained was said to be the biggest victim of the explosion, with many expressing doubts about his survival due to the degree of his burns, even as he was rushed to the hospital.
Three other persons were said to have sustained different degrees of burns in the accident.
A shop owner, Mrs Deborah Afubeli, whose provision shop was razed, said she lost goods worth about N2 million to the explosion.
Director of the Edo State Fire Service, Mr. Franklin Agbonlahor, who spoke at the scene of the accident, 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.
“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,” Agbonlahor said.