Two days after fuel tanker wreaked havoc in Upper Iweka and Ochanja market Onitsha, a similar incident razed buildings and about 30 vehicles in Omagba phase II area of the commercial city yesterday.
It was gathered that a tanker laden with fuel lost control in the early hours of yesterday, along Enugu-Onitsha expressway by Chukwudi bus stop, Onitsha, fell and exploded. As a result, the tanker spilled its content and spread the inferno to residential houses and mechanic workshops consuming all on its path.
Although, no life was lost but severl houses and vehicles worth billions million were burnt. The prompt intervention of fire fighting officials who promptly put out the fire saved the situation from getting worse.
Items destroyed by the fire include residential buildings, cars parked in front of the owners’ houses, and mechanic workshops, among others.
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Mr. Haruna Mohommed, a Superintendent of Police while confirming the incident said that 22 vehicles were burnt.
“On 18/10/2019 at about 03:26am, a trailer loaded with petroleum product at Omoba Area along Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, collided with a truck and ignited fire burning three caterpillars, a truck laden with planks.
“A general assessment of the damage caused by the inferno within Omagba further revealed that a total of 22 vehicles parked in two mechanical workshops and along Udodi street Omagba phase 2 were burnt while 8 houses were also torched in the fire incident.
“Police patrol teams led by the Area Commander Onitsha rushed to the scene and cordoned off the Area to prevent hoodlums from taking advantage of the situation to loot and fire Service department was equally contacted which responded promptly and put off the fire before it became intractable.
“Consequently, the Commissioner of Police, CP John B.Abang, has ordered an investigation to ascertain circumstances surrounding the incident. No loss of life while obstruction was cleared to enable free flow of traffic” Mohammed stated.
Some of the victims John Odogwu, Gorge Nwedu, Sunday Udoka and Raphael Okeke called on government to come to their aid as most of the vehicles burnt were brought for repair in their workshops.
Mr Emeka Obinwa, Executive Assistant to Gov Willie Obiano on Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEEMA) also confirmed the incident in Awka. He said that SEMA team visited the scene about 4 am on Friday, adding that no life was lost.
Obinwa said the incident took the same dimension as that of Wednesday afternoon, but noted that timely arrival of fire fighters in the state reduced the damages.
“The second fire outbreak in Onitsha within the week was equally severe, property worth several billions of naira including buildings, vehicles and other valuable property were affected at Omaba Phase two.
“The petroleum product spilled through the gutter and resulted in the fire extending beyond the point the vehicle fell,’’ he said. He said the fire extended to a mechanic workshop around the area and burnt vehicles parked in the place.
Obinwa said that full assessment on both Upper Iweka/Ochanja and Omaba disaster would be carried out by the agency.
Meanwhile, what could have been yet another fire incident in the state was yesterday averted at Agulu, Anaocha local government by the quick intervention of the police and men of the Fire Service.
The Agulu incident, which happened about four hours after the second Onitsha inferno also involved a truck laden with fuel. It was gathered that the truck had a break failure while trying to make a U-turn in front of St Stephens Anglican Church, Agulu and in the process the wheel got hooked and stranded across the road blocking the entire way.
It took the quick intervention of the police who cordoned off the area to prevent people from coming close to avoid another fire. Confirming the incident, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed (SP) said the Commissioner Police, John Abang had visited the scene and that Fire Service department was also on ground. He said another truck was brought to empty the content, while the area was cordoned off by the Police to prevent casualties.