Many Feared Dead In Friday Night Tanker Explosion At Eleme

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Fire from Multiple explosions at the Eleme section of the East-West Road in Rivers State on Friday night killed many people and burnt scores of vehicles in the vicinity

A tanker laden with petroleum products exploded around 9.15 pm, adjacent to the Indorama Petrochemical Company located along the Akpojo-Onne axis of the East-West Road leading to some critical national assets. affecting other vehicles in the area known for its gridlock.

Punch reports that a source living in Akpajo, Eleme Local Government Area, said he heard a deafening sound twice from his residence.

The source who gave his name as Vikko said, “I heard a very loud sound about 20 minutes ago, and people were shouting.

“The sound came from the Petro-Chemical company area. So when I came out, I saw thick smoke with fire from a distance.”

A Port Harcourt-based broadcast journalist, Segun Owolabi, who gave a live update from the scene aired on his company’s Radio Station (Super FM, 93.3) painted a gory picture and said he counted four bodies burnt.

Owolabi stated, “I saw four dead bodies burnt. Some may have been in the bushes because many ran away. I saw a whole stretch of vehicles burnt down, trailers burnt down.”

On what may have caused the fire which he said was still raging, he said, “There seems to be a truck carrying substances and it was as if it had a collision with another vehicle that may have ignited the fire. Over 20 vehicles burnt down and several people were trapped.” There may be more bodies. Oh my God this is a tragedy. A stretch of vehicles was burnt.”

He, however, said three fire-fighting trucks from the Indorama Petrochemical company had arrived at the scene and were trying to put out the fire which was still raging.

He added, “Our call right now is to other companies to assist in putting out the fire because it may overwhelm the three fire trucks by the Indorama Company.” Some security agents are here too, but we call for security presence to ensure nothing else happens here. Also, the Rivers State Government and other relevant agencies should rise to the occasion in seeing that the situation is brought under control.

“Also, the Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area should swing into action and make every necessary call he needs to make to save the people of his area and others using the road.”

Owolabi said the fire was still raging as of the time he left with thick smoke billowing into the atmosphere.

Following the incident, it was gathered that hundreds of travellers and passengers were stranded as the road which leads to Akwa Ibom, Cross River and others were blocked.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, said though she was yet to get a situation report on the incident, she would find out and revert.

She had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report on Friday night.

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