6 die in Rivers fuel tanker fire

17 March 2012, Sweetcrude, PORT HARCOURT – Six persons were feared dead when an articulated vehicle carrying petrol fell on its side at Igurunta junction in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers on Saturday.

Mr Ben Ugwuegbulam, the public relations officer of Rivers Police command, who confirmed the incident, said details were expected from the divisional police officer in charge of the area.

Eyewitnesses told reporters that the truck fell while negotiating a sharp bend at Igurunta round about at about 10 a.m.

According to the eyewitnesses, the petrol that spilled from the tanker set fire on nearby houses and shops, killing a family of four and two others.

Angry youths in the area, allegedly attacked and damaged two fire-fighting vehicles belonging to the state Fire Service and prevented firefighters from putting out the fire because they arrived at the scene late.

Traffic on Port Harcourt International Airport road was disrupted for some hours following the action of the youths.

The Rivers Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Emeka Worgu, who arrived later at the scene, reprimanded the youths for preventing the firefighters from doing their work.

Worgu lamented to newsmen that the men from the state Fire Service responded to a distress call only to be prevented from doing their work.

He urged youths in the state to always allow firefighters do their work when they get to a fire scene.

Mr Welendu Amadi, the Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area, told newsmen that the men were doing their legitimate work and were not the cause of the incident.

Eight firefighters from the Fire Service, who were mobbed by the youths, were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The Brigade Commander, 2 Brigade of the Army, Brig.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, who later arrived at the scene, was assisted by his men in clearing the barricade erected on the road leading to the airport.

Firefighters from Agip Oil company, under heavy security, later put out the fire.

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