TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Property worth millions of naira were on Friday night destroyed as a petroleum tanker loaded with over 50,000 litres diesel fell and was gutted fire in Rivers State.
The incident happened in Rukpokwu community, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
An eye witness noted that the tanker lost balance, fell and went up in flames, while the driver was trying to make a U-turn.
An eyewitness who did not want his name in print said: “I was sitting where some aboki people were sitting when we saw the tanker. It got to the U-turn and was trying to turn. But, it was as if the vehicle was having a problem.
“As it continued, we saw that the tanker tumbling. The product started wasting. Some people rushed to the scene and started scooping the product. But I refused to join them.
“I don’t even know what happened. Suddenly what we saw was fire. The fire destroyed all the shops there. It also destroyed two a storey-building by the roadside,” the source disclosed.
He noted that when the fire started burning, the people called the fire service, but there was no response or rescue team until the whole property were destroyed.
However, the Petroleum Task Force has blamed the incident on bad nature of the road and the rickety nature of the vehicle.
The Head of Operations, Rivers State Petroleum Tanker Task Force, Zone E, Kingsley Wahu, who confirmed the incident, urged tanker drivers to ensure that their vehicles are in good condition.
He said: “The bad road also contributed to this accident here. Property worth millions of naira have been damaged here as you can see.
“I think there is also a need for the tanker drivers to put their truck in good condition. How can this old truck carry over 30 to 50, 000 litres of petroleum”? He asked.