Fire gutted a petrol station beside a church in Nnewi, Anambra State, early Friday morning and many people were reported to have narrowly escaped death.
Tribune Online gathered that the petrol station, Great V. Max Oil & Gas, located along Nnobi Road, Nnewi, close to the cathedral, was gutted by fire, at about 7 am on Friday when worshipers were still dispersing after church service; thereby, causing a commotion and making people run helter-skelter.
When our correspondent got to the scene of the incident, firefighters from Nnewi area were still making efforts to quell the fire; while traders and transport companies, within the vicinity were busy evacuating their vehicles and goods to avoid falling victim.
The fuel station supervisor, who gave his name as Umaru Sanda, said the fire started when they were trans-loading diesel from one tanker to another.
“The fire started when we were trans-loading diesel from a bigger tanker to another smaller one. We connected the pumping machine from the bigger tanker to the smaller one. Along the line, the pipe connecting the two tankers from the machine pulled off, and the gas started pouring on the ground. When we were still mobilizing to fix the pipe, the heated pumping machine sparked fire; destroying the entire dispensing machines, the gas tanker, and a lot of other properties,” he explained.
A pump attendant at the petrol station, who gave her name as Chinelo, said she raised the alarm when she observed that diesel scattered the filling station, but that help could not come as quickly as required before the fire started.
She said: “I was attending to motorists when the fire started. I noticed that the pipe connecting the two vehicles from the pumping machine pulled off, and diesel was pouring all over the place. I raised the alarm; but before we knew it, the fire started.”
She said fire service from Nnewi responded as soon as they were informed; but that the fire destroyed a lot of things.
Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Petroleum Matters, Mr Peter Nwosu, who also visited the scene of the incident with the Divisional Police Officer of Otolo Police Station, Mr Hassan, described the development as a big loss.
Nwosu, who is also the chairman of NUPENG, Anambra State, urged residents, including operators of petrol stations, to be very careful the way they handle the product at this dry season period.
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