By Emma Elekwa, Onitsha
Dispensing meters of a petrol station, tanker and shops were gutted by fire on Friday following a gas explosion along Nnewi-Nnobi Road, Nnewi, Anambra state.
The fire incident, which occurred around 8am, was said to have also razed a motorcycle, generator, deep freezers and other items along the road.
The Nation gathered that although no life was lost, there was pandemonium in the area as residents and shop owners scampered for safety while men of fire service and youths in the area battled the fire.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Val Okonkwo, said the inferno was caused by a diesel laden tanker attempting to transfer its contents to another smaller tanker at the filling station.
“While the truck was transferring diesel to a smaller truck at the station, the generator hose being used for the transfer pulled out and the diesel suddenly spread on the generator which ignited the fire,” he said.
He said attempts to put out the fire with the available fire extinguisher were futile as the fire became increasingly high, adding that the diesel flew along the drain, consuming all items along the way.
Okonkwo, whose shop is close to the filling station, however said the fire was later extinguished by fire fighters from the area, adding that the tanker drivers escaped by whiskers.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Organizer Oil and Gas Ltd, Nnewi, who visited the scene of the incident, sympathised with the patrol station owner who he described as one of their own.
He said: “I came in solidarity and to ensure that the fire is completely put out. I must confess that I’m highly impressed by the youths who trooped out in their numbers to help fight the fire.
“I don’t think the problem is sighting petrol station near residential houses, because even if a filling station is in an evil forest, buildings would soon spring up there. Caution should rather be applied in managing patrol stations, not the site.”