70 vehicles gutted, many dead in Rivers petrol tanker fire

A tanker blast

File photo: A tanker on fire

By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

Over 70 cars have been burnt and scores of lives lost in a late Friday evening heavy fire outbreak along East-West Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers allegedly caused by a petroleum tanker that fell and spilled its content on the road.

The content of the truck ignited heavy fire that engulfed many cars caught up in the perennial chaotic traffic synonymous with the area at the time of the accident.

Many vehicles were reduced to ashes in a massive fire outbreak which occurred around 9:00 pm. It was learnt that at least four individuals have been confirmed dead in the fire incident.

Many more many victims were also burnt beyond recognition.

As Assistant Commissioner, ACP, I. Okoro led a team of Police and Divisional Police Officer of Eleme to the scene of the incident to ensure that criminals did not cash on the confusion resulting from the incident to rob victims on Friday evening.

The nearby Indorama Petroleum Fertilizer Company also deployed firefighters to combat the raging fire.

At the time of filing this report, there has not official statement from the Rivers State government concerning the fire disaster.

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However, the incident left a scene of utter destruction, with charred remains of vehicles scattered across the expressway.

Photographs and videos of burnt cars abandoned by their owners as they ran to avoid being consumed inside their vehicles in the inferno are being circulated on the internet.

In one of the videos posted on Facebook, one Egwunyenga Victor Ifechukwu showed up to 11 vehicles, including four trucks, on fire. Ifechukwu who claimed to have escaped from the fire incident described the destruction caused by the inferno as colossal. a

Another witness noted that trucks conveying goods coming from the wharf, company staff bus, and commercial buses from Cross Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State, and other areas were caught in the inferno.

Eyewitnesses blamed the incident on the poor state of the Eleme section of the East-West road.

They also accused the Reynolds Construction Company, RCCG, of not putting adequate safety measures in place as it was busy constructing that section of the East-West road.

The all important road linking, Ogoniland, Akwa-Ibom and Cross Rivers States has been in a state of disrepair for 17 years.

More later.

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