Two persons were confirmed dead while three others sustained serious fire burns and five vehicles destroyed when a truck loaded with 33,000 litres of petroleum product fell, yesterday, at Barracks Bus Stop, along the Mile 2/Badagry Expressway, Lagos, spilling its content on the ground.
A yet to be ascertained number of brand new power generators worth over N100 million were also razed by the inferno which started from the spillage.
Aside, the heavy financial loss, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Onireke Police Station, Barracks bus stop, Ojo, CSP Emeka Odigwe, and two policemen also sustained injuries while trying to rescue trapped victims.
The DPO was said to have slipped and fell into one of the drainages where the fire was raging as a result of the petrol.
Petrol from the tanker had allegedly drained into the gutters and flowing into the nearby community.
The inferno caused a major hitch to the free flow of traffic as vehicular movements inward and outward Mile Two, on both lanes, were halted by rescuers from the police, soldiers from Ojo Cantonment and fire service and officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), apparently to prevent the fire from spreading into residential houses.
It was gathered that the incident occurred around 5.am. But at about 1.pm, the fire was still raging.
Also, as at the time The Guardian left the scene, nothing had been done to move the trucks off the expressway to allow vehicular movements.
When The Guardian arrived the scene at about 9.am, commuters were sighted trekking long distances as commercial motorcycles, which is the only means of transportation, were stopped several metres to the scene and the riders directed to disembark from the bike.
Military personnel also joined other agencies to restore sanity to the road. Fire service officials were on standby to contain the fire.
Taiwo Hameed, a commercial bus driver who plies the Mile 2-Badagry expressway blamed the two truck drivers for the accident.
He said that both drivers were struggling to meander through a dip gully in the middle of the road in front of the Police Station.
According to him, the tanker was ahead of the second truck carrying cartons of power generators
“The tanker fell as it tried to pass through the dip hole. It spilled its content in the.middle of the road. Hoodlums as well as petrol hawkers besieged the place as petrol started dripping into near by gutters ro scoop for fuel.
“Policemen who were on ground tried to scare away the hoodlums but the more they tried the more the urchins scooped petrol into jerry cans. While the scooping was on the tanker exploded sending huge ball of fire into the sky. It trapped the second truck and three vehicles tagging behind it.
“While the fire was on the driver of the articulated truck and his conductor battle to remove some of the generators. Policemen and some soldiers provided both of them with security. Some hoodlums who later discovered that the truck was carrying generators abandoned the fuel they came to scoop and were stealing generators.
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“They attacked the container with hammer and iron cutters. However what saved the situation was the time the accident occurred,” he said.