A church, a hotel and a building with many shops yesterday went up in flames when a tanker carrying fuel crashed and exploded on the Eluozu-Air Force flyover in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The accident, a witness said, occurred about 5a.m, yesterday when the tanker crashed at a bend. Fire, which accompanied the explosion, destroyed property worth millions of naira and equally disrupted vehicular movements around the busy axis.
The tanker driver, who escaped the accident unhurt, disappeared from the scene. The General Overseer of the church, Bunmi Grace, noted that the incident occurred about 6a.m., adding that none of the victims was able to save any of their belongings. Grace said: “When the tanker fell and fire started the electricity transformer close by caught fire, exploded and the fire spread the more. Before firefighters came the thing had gone far.
“The incident will affect our service, but we must gather to worship God. What was destroyed here is over N300 million because we did not remove anything here. “I was in the house when I received a call that my church is on fire. I got a vision of fire incident, and we organised a prayer and fasting. We finished prayers yesterday and this morning this thing happened.” The owner of the hotel lamented that the fire services in the city reacted very late to the distress calls he made immediately the fire started. Also speaking on the incident, Rivers Commissioner of Works, Hon. Dum Dekor, said the incident was caused by human error. He said: “The incident would have been avoided. The damage is enormous. It would have been averted because I believe it occurred as a result of some human error.
The Chairman of Obio Akpor Local Government, Prince Solomon Abel Eke, described the accident as unfortunate. Eke, who spoke after visiting the scene, appealed to drivers plying the route to be conscious when approaching the bend before the Eliozu overhead bridge.