By Kayode Afolabi, Ore
Residents of Ore in Odigbo Local Government area of Ondo State, have continued to count their losses after a petrol tanker exploded where 20 people were reportedly burnt to death.
Hundreds of people have died in similar way in the past in Nigeria.
About a year ago, more than 30 people in the same area were burnt to death while scooping fuel from a crashed oil tanker.
Last year, over 10 people were burnt beyond recognition in a similar tanker explosion, which occurred in Obafemi-Owode Local Council of Ogun State.
Nigeria’s worst incident occurred in 1998, when more than 1,000 people died as a leaking oil pipeline from which they were scooping fuel exploded in the town of Jesse.
Reaction have trailed the tanker explosion in Ore and across the state as suvivours and the entire state are in a deep sorrow for the loss of lives and property.
It was not immediately clear what caused the truck accident.
The survivors were still in pain at the Ore General Hospital receiving treatment as well seeking the government assistance.
While narrating his ordeal with The Hope, one of the survivors of the explosion, Olajide Caleb explained how it occurred, saying he survived the incident by a whisker with the grace of God.
Caleb also lamented how his business and property were consumed by the inferno as it engulfed his residence.
His words “We do not know what caused the fire incident, but while I was trying to run out of my residence, I tried as well rescuing my wife and my children out of the burning house, the fire caught and burnt my leg with my thigh
“We were in our house, so we didn’t know how it started and how to find solution to quench the fire, the fire burnt my property in the house.
“I don’t know the cause of the fire, but I thanked God that i managed to escape, I am still in shock over the incident, “ he narrated.
Also, a commercial motorcyclist, who gave his name as Saliu narrated that the tanker driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a ditch while its contents spilt into a nearby stream.
“Some people invaded the scene with kegs and buckets to scoop fuel at first and I later joined them to scoop the fuel.
“All of a sudden, we heard a loud explosion about 200 metres away from the scene of the incident and nobody paid attention to it, because everybody was busy scooping the fuel until the fire got near us.
“After some time, the fire moved through the water. There was another loud explosion, and before we knew what was happening, the whole place was in flames.
“We ran away from the tanker. We were over 100 scooping the fuel directly from the tanker. I also joined them to run away. Some people who were trying to run away with their scooped fuel were caught by the fire.
“Many more people would have died if the fire had started from the tanker, but it started from a house where a woman was said to be cooking. The woman was burnt to death.”
Meanwhile, the Acting Governor, Mr Lucky Ayedatiwa in a visit to the scene of the incident sympathized with the people of Ore and promised to render help to the affected victims.
Also, the Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) mourns the untimely but avoidable death of the victims.
The party through its Publicity Secretary, Alex Kalejaye described the occurrence as terribly shocking which was so unfortunate.
The party urged Nigerians to be more careful with explosive items, no matter the level of temptation. Petroleum products give no notice before explosion.
“It was a painfully touching scene.
“Times are hard, no doubts, but we are very certain that the situation will begin to relax very soon. We need to stay safe, and in good health to keep hope alive.
“We deeply sympathize with the bereaved families, friends, and the Ore community. We pray God to comfort them.
“May the souls of the victims rest in peace.” he said.
Meanwhile, persisted effort to speak with some of the survivors at the General Hospital in Ore, were proved abortive as health officials prevented relatives and victims from speaking with our correspondent.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Funmi Odunlami, who spoke with The Hope Metro via phone chat confirmed that eight persons lost their lives in the incident.
She however attributed the explosion to the illicit activities of some members of the public who were siphoning fuel from the fallen petroleum tanker at Showboy area of Ore.