Without any warning yesterday, a loud blast shattered the evening and slow-ride cruise on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway at Cele Bus Stop, Lagos around 5:00p.m. when two tankers had a ghastly collision that erupted into an inferno.
It was so severe that in minutes, the whole Cele Bus Stop became an apocalyptic scene with thick gust of flame and fire spreading at the speed of light. The accident claimed two lives with many others sustaining varying degree of injuries in the ensuing stampede to escape the scene.
According to an eyewitness account, the tanker driver noticed a flat tyre as he was approaching the bus stop and slowed down to check the tyre when another tanker coming behind it on high speed rammed into the trailer, which immediately led to an explosion under the bridge.
The tanker with the flat tyre, which was carrying petrol, fell on its side, with its content seeping into the road and drainage channel on the expressway. This made the fire to spread rapidly, blazing from different spots along the drainage channel.
Sadly, the driver and his conductor, who were checking the damaged tyre were killed instantly with their remains splattered across the road, while the driver of the truck coming from behind, escaped unhurt and immediately fled the scene.
Spokesman of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasaq Fadipe, told newsmen that no fewer than six fire-fighting trucks were mobilised to control the wild fire.
According to him: “Serious outbreak of fire in Cele area of Ijesha was caused by massive PMS spillage into drainage.”
Spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), South West, Ibrahim Farinloye, who also confirmed the incident, noted that one person was feared dead.
Farinloye, who confirmed the incident via social media, said: “Tanker going inward Oshodi exploded at Cele Bus Stop. The fire spread across the entire expressway. One person died.”
There was a traffic standstill on the Ijesha area on both sides of the expressway following the accident, which trapped many commuters returning home from work yesterday evening.
The spot where the truck fell was beside the Cele mini-market. Traders were seen running helter-skelter for their dear lives to avoid the rampaging fire.
Officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), the police and firefighters were busy are at the scene trying to restore calm amid the chaotic logjam experienced on the road.
As it was getting dark, some miscreants, popularly called area boys capitalised on the situation to harass some passersby, who had trekked long distances to evade the standstill to Cele Bus Stop.