A petrol tanker has exploded along the Mbiama axis of the East-West Road in Bayelsa, causing an inferno that killed a taxi driver.
At least five vehicles were burnt in the incident that occurred at about 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Investigations revealed that three of the vehicles were damaged beyond recognition while two were burnt partially.
The Bayelsa State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Ikechukwu Igwe, deployed his officials to ensure free-flow of traffic along the busy road.
Sources said the driver lost control of the tanker after discharging fuel in one of the filling stations.
One of the sources said: “The tanker fell shortly after coming out of the filling station. It did not discharge all the products in that filling station. The rest of the product spilled on the road.
“We later heard a bang and fire followed it immediately. It caused panic in the area but the immediate presence of FRSC officials brought the situation under control. The officials were there till about 11:00 p.m. to control traffic.”
Igwe, who visited the area on Thursday morning, said only a taxi driver died in the incident and sympathised with persons whose vehicles were burnt.
He said instead of fleeing the scene after the tanker collapsed, the taxi driver, opened the bonnet of his vehicle and attempted to disconnect his battery.
He said in the process of trying to remove his vehicle’s battery, a spark occurred and caused the explosion.
He said: “The driver just discharged fuel at Lionman Filling Station but as he was going out, the tanker fell. The taxi man that died in the incident came out and discovered that there was no road because other drivers abandoned their vehicles and fled the area.
“The man decided to disconnect his vehicle’s battery and there was a spark because the remaining fuel from the tanker had spilled on the road. The spark caused the fire that killed the taxi driver and burnt five vehicles.”