While some residents of Omitowuju area, near Mokola in Ibadan are still counting their losses over the fire that destroyed buildings, shops, cars and other valuables in the area, Street Journal has gathered that the disaster could have been avoided but for the stubbornness of the driver of the petrol tanker that eventually caused the fire.
Eyewitnesses disclosed to Street Journal that the driver of the tanker which was believed to be taking 33,000 litres of petrol to a filling station in Mokola was warned by some residents that he would not be able to go through a narrow part of the road, especially a portion where they warned him the tyres could get stuck and cause the vehicle to fall on its side. He however allegedly ignored the warning saying he would handle the situation and manage the tanker to go through. He was however said to have escaped from the scene soon after the fire started.
The fears of the residents became justified in a matter of minutes when the vehicle fell and spilled its contents as the driver tried to turn near the St Stephen’s Church. Before long, a fire had started and houses, shops, cars and even a mosque were consumed. Residents trooped out and started battling the fire which had been announced by thick smoke that rose high enough to be seen around Dugbe and other parts of the city. While some residents battled the fire before the arrival of the officials of the fire service, some looters who cashed in on the situation had a field day. Tawa Ibrahim told Street Journal that “some people pretended to be helping shop owners to more their goods while they were actually stealing them but because everybody was confused, they were able to get away”.
Mr Oladele who thanked God his family especially his children escaped unhurt disclosed that his house was consumed, “my house and everything I owned went with the fire”, he said.