23 December 2014, Calabar – At least two persons were feared killed in what would have been a major fire disaster at the Calabar Free Trade Zone in Cross River State on Monday when a tanker loaded with petrol veered off the road and emptied its content, which immediately ignited fire.
According to an eye witness accounts, the petro-laden tanker loaded the product at the tank farm belonging to North West Petroleum Oil and Gas Company and was on its way out of the premises of the zone when the driver lost control of the tanker leading to the accident which caused the tanker to fall.
One of the eyewitnesses who gave his name simply as Daniel, said: “God is with us otherwise the entire zone would have been raised down as we have many tank farms here. The tanker was carrying petrol and it fell down at the sharp bending.
“It was just God and the quick intervention of the fire service of the zone, otherwise, the zone with over 52 companies would have been burnt down.
“This is the third time trucks have fallen off the road after loading at petroleum tank farm. There is need to install speed breakers on that long stretch of road in the zone to forestall future occurrence. In addition, there should be regulation and road safety training for the truck drivers who are often under the influence of alcohol.”
However, as at press time, the whereabouts of the tanker driver, conductor and another passenger who was escorting the truck was not known.
There was confusion as to whether the occupants were still alive or not, more so, as the head of the truck was completely burnt.
Eye witnesses said the timely arrival of fire fighters from the CFTZ saved the day as they battled and succeeded in putting out the fire which had already spread to oil installations belonging to another company.
When journalists at the scene of the inferno sought the official reaction from the management of the company, none of the management staff agreed to speak on the accident.
However, reacting to the incident, the management of the CFTZ said no life was lost but declined to comment on the whereabouts of the driver and his passengers.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the zone, Mr. Richard Bassey, who confirmed the fire incident, said the fire was put out almost immediately it happened according to the international best practice.
– This Day