On Friday, at Irete junction in Owerri West Council Area of Imo State, a truck conveying petroleum products exploded leaving a woman burnt beyond recognition alongside three others who sustained severe injuries.
The incident happened at about 10 45am when the driver was trying to make u-turn after discharging the liquidified natural gas at the Forte Oil company along Owerri -Onitsha Express road.
According to eyewitness, as the truck was making the U-turn, another vehicle XY 933UNW carrying full load of pineapples from the Onitsha to Owerri, rammed into it and exploded.
The woman, the witness said, was trapped in the vehicle screaming while passersby watched helplessly until she was burnt.
It was gathered the driver escaped with severe burnt while two other cars caught along the road were burnt to ashes before the State Fire Service operatives arrived the scene.
The eyewitness blamed the fire service personnel for arriving the scene late, adding it was difficult to open the vehicle in which the woman was trapped when they came.
The Fire Service Director, Jephet Okereafor, said they responded immediately to stop the fire from causing more havoc.
He however complained they lacked other fire-fighting equipment.
The cause of the explosion was yet to be ascertained but newsmen, who visited the scene on Friday afternoon, learnt that the driver of the tanker and a woman, said to be coming back from a nearby market, died in the explosion while many others were injured.
An eye witness, Kingsley Eke, told newsmen that for the timely intervention of the men of the state fire service, the explosion would have wrecked more havoc.
He said, “The incident would have been more disastrous but for the prompt arrival of firefighters. It is unfortunate that we lost two persons in the fire – the driver and a woman. Others have been rushed to a hospital.”
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the incident.
Ikeokwu, however, said he could only confirm one death as of the time of filing this report.