By Gabriel Elozino
Two person were burnt beyond recognition and over 30 buildings destroyed at the popular Ohoro Junction in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta state following a head on collision between a truck loaded with granite and a stationary tanker conveying petrol, which triggered an inferno.
The incident it was gathered happened at the wee hours of Thursday while many residents of the community were asleep.
According to sources in the community, it was the loud sound of the collision that woke them up and made them to escape the inferno without any member of the community hurt.
It was gather that the two victims burnt to ashes were occupants of a gas Tanker that parked behind the petrol tanker that was collided with the truck.
It could not be ascertained if it the gas tanker was filled with the product as the tank was still intact after the inferno.
The Youth President of the community, Alex Odegbe explained that, “the tanker was coming from Port Harcourt to Ughelli, and there was another truck carrying granite from the opposite direction that wanted to overtake. Normally they were all on the same place. Some were parked because it was late but this one carrying granite wanted to go. So in the process of trying to manipulate his way, he now hit the fuel tanker and from there fire exploded.
“I think the tanker that it hit belongs to NNPC and the fire destroyed completely more than 21 buildings, and two persons were confirmed dead, burnt to ashes. We were only able to saved lives no property was saved. Most of us are now homeless, you can see some persons with just boxers and nothing more.”
Another source in the Community whose building was destroyed, Sapele Clement explained that, “at about 2am in the night we heard a loud sound, by the time we woke up, we saw fire. We had to run for our lives. We could not save any property only our children and wives. We went far and were watching when the building was burning till everything went down. This is my house you are seeing here.
“The properties in my house are worth N10million because since I was burn, I have been a farmer, and all that I have is the building and everything inside it. I want to appeal to government to urgently come to our aid.”
In its reaction, the Delta State government described the incident as unfortunate and devastating.
The state’s Commissioner for Higher Education who happens to be from the community, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare and his Oil and Gas Counterpart, Prince Emmanuel Agbadugba who visited the scene of the incident thanked God that the incident did not claimed more lives.
Muobogahre said, “from what we are seeing here it was just God and from what we gathered, no member of the community was affected. It means they were very alert. They responded well. They were able to break houses so that those who were asleep were able to escape.”
He commended the community youths for their dungeness, saying, “I want to commend the youths because even in the heat of the fire they were able to cover the culvert, which was like a path for the diesel to spread to other places. They had to block it with sand and which limited the extent of damage.
“The destruction was indescribable. The governor asked us to come and see what happened and we will report to him. I can assure the people that government has not abandoned us and in a short time you will hear from us.”
The Trumpet learned that about three tankers carrying different petroleum products (petrol and diesel) including the truck load of granite were all parked at the scene. The explosion occurred when the truck tried to manipulate its way and head to its destination.
More Photos from the Scene