The industrial town of Anambra State, Nnewi was on Friday morning thrown into pandemonium.
The town was thrown into chaos with residents running helter skelter when a truck loaded with diesel went up in flames at a filling station along Nnewi-Nnobi Road, Nnewi.
The fire raged through gutters to spread to shops along the road as fears of the fire spreading to buildings threw residents into panic.
An eyewitness, Mr. Val Okonkwo who has a shop close to the filling station said the incident happened when a truck loaded with diesel attempted to transfer the product to another smaller tanker at the filling station.
He said, “The fire incident started few minutes after 8 am on Friday morning when a big truck was transferring diesel to a smaller truck at the filling station. The hose of a generator they were using to do the transfer was said to have pulled out and the diesel then spread on the generator which started the fire.
“As the fire started, the people at the filling station tried in vain to put it off with the available fire extinguisher. The fire became increasingly high and the driver of the smaller tanker quickly drove off to enable the bigger tanker to also drive out, but before they could complete this process the fire had spread out of the filling station to the road and both sides of the gutters on the road. Along the two drainages burning anything on its way, but the Nnewi Fire Service quickly arrived at the scene, combated the fire and succeeded in putting it off.”
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Organizer Oil and Gas Ltd, Nnewi, visited the scene of the incident, he expressed sympathy for the petrol station owner who he described as one of their own.
He said he came there in solidarity and to ensure that the fire is completely put out, expressed satisfaction with the conduct and resilience of the youths who contributed in putting off the fire.
“I am highly impressed that youths in Nnewi trooped out in numbers to help fight the fire, that is the real spirit of Igbo man, the Onyeaghala Nwanneya ‘Dont abandon your brother or sister spirit’ of Igbo people.”
On the people’s complaint about building of filling station near residential houses, he said “Wherever you site a filling station even in an evil forest, buildings would soon spring up there. Caution should rather be applied in managing petrol stations, not the site.”
However, no life was lost in the incident, but all the dispensing meters at the filling station, a motorcycle, generator and the long truck were all burnt. Also burnt were deep freezers, some shops and things that stood along the track the fire travelled.