No fewer than two persons were confirmed dead and eight others injured when a tanker bearing petrol fell at Amawbia Roundabout in Awka, Anambra State and went up in flames on Saturday night.
The News Agency of Nigeria learnt from eyewitnesses that at least eight vehicles and some residential buildings within the vicinity were also destroyed in the inferno.
Eyewitness account said the fire occurred in front of the Amawbia Fire Service and near the Police Headquarters, Anambra Governor’s Lodge and other public buildings.
Narrating his experience, one of the victims, Paul Igwemma, whose car got burnt in the fire, said the tanker was negotiating a bend when it fell and subsequently burst into flames.
Igwemma, who was full of praises to God, said he had to abandon his vehicle.
He said: “I saw the vehicle trying to negotiate to this direction and all of a sudden the tank fell and hit the pavement of the roundabout so I immediately ran out of my car.
“Few seconds after, there was an explosion accompanied by fire and as you can see, my car is burnt beyond recognition, together with about 10 other vehicles.”
Another eyewitness, Mary Anyaora, who was seen weeping at the scene, said the number of casualties could still be more.
Anyaora said many more people were still trapped in their buildings and might not be able to escape from the fire.
She said the effect of the fire could have been minimal, if there was an immediate intervention from the Fire Service.
Confirming the incident, Andrew Kumapayi, Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps in Anambra State, blamed the incident on careless driving on the part of the tanker driver.
Kumapayi said two persons died, while six others sustained injuries with eight vehicles burnt beyond recognition.
He said: “The driver did not stop when the tank fell.
“The incident happened in front of the Fire Service and fire fighters are still making efforts to put out the fire.”
NAN reports that the fire was still raging at the time of filing the report, while men of the fire service were seen battling to put it out.