One Dies in Awka Tanker Explosion

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David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

At least one person has died; two persons were injured, while four vehicles were damaged in a petrol tanker explosion that rocked Awka, Anambra State, last Tuesday afternoon.

THISDAY gathered that the tanker was brought in for welding shortly after discharging petroleum products, and that a welder was already working on it when residual petrol left inside the tank caused an explosion that engulfed an automobile mechanic workshop in Amawbia, on the Enugu-Onitsha expressway.

The welder, who was working on the tanker, was killed in the fire, while two persons, a cobbler and an unidentified woman, were badly burnt and taken to hospital.

Also, two tankers, a tipper and a Toyota Camry car parked in the workshop were gutted by fire as a result of the incident.

Spokesperson of Anambra State Command of the Nigeria Police, Haruna Mohammed, said: “At about 3 p.m., there was a fire incident at a welding workshop located on Enugu-Agidi road Amawbia.

“The area was cordoned off and traffic diverted to alternative routes in order to prevent disaster until after the fire was successfully put out by the fire fighters. Situation was brought under control and obstruction cleared to enable free flow of traffic.

“Meanwhile, a male cobbler and a woman whose identities are yet to be ascertained, sustained varying degrees of burns and were taken to Preston Hospital, Ngozika Housing Estate for treatment, while the welder, Monday Ayo Adenipekun, a male, popularly known as AY, 35, who was working on top of the Tanker without number plate was burnt to death and his body evacuated to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital mortuary.

“Four vehicles, including two tankers, one tipper and one Toyota Camry, where affected by the inferno.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the exploded tanker was brought into the workshop for welding immediately it discharged fuel in the tank. The residual fuel in the tank eventually ignited during the welding.

“All the security agencies worked in synergy to control the large crowd, direct traffic and restore order at the scene,” Haruna said.