09 January 2012, Sweetcrude, Umuahia – Fire has consumed goods and properties worth millions of naira at a fuel station in Uzoakoli, Abia State.
However, no life was lost in the fire disaster at Okozak fuel station, at Uzuakoli in Bende Local Government Area.
The station and a bus that was buying fuel at the time were destroyed.
The incident occurred when a 33,000 litre tanker truck was discharging petrol at the station.
Hoodlums capitalised on the unfortunate incident to loot shops and houses around the petrol station, while the owners were running for their lives.
The driver of the truck with number-plate XE888AKL, Stephen Ogbuji, who lamented the incident described it “a mysterious one”.
The driver said he suddenly discovered there was fire while discharging the petrol product.
“I had connected the hose to the underground tank to commence the discharge of petrol and in less than three minutes there was fire from nowhere. I used my fire extinguisher with that of the filling station to try and put it off to no avail.
“The engine of the tanker truck was not on there was no fire around, no matches and no commercial motor cycle or okada, so I am still wondering how the fire started.
“This type of thing has never happened to me since my 16 years as an oil tanker driver,” Ogbuji said.
In his reaction, tmanager of the filling station, Chinedu Uwalekwu, commended the people of Uzuakoli for their timely intervention, saying the fire would have escalated beyond the station but for the quick intervention of the people.
According to him, the fire will have taken a bigger dimension if he had not removed the hose when he noticed the fire, as the underground tank was open.
He bemoaned the attitude of fire fighters in Umuahia who refused to come when they were called.
“When the fire started we immediately got in touch with the fire service in Umuahia the state capital, but they complained that they have no driver to drive their truck, yet they come here every year to collect their annual levy from us,” he said.