Goods were lost in the inferno.
It was a sea of heads at Omitowoju Street of the Ibadan Northwest Local Government of Oyo State on Tuesday as residents of the state capital thronged in their thousands to catch the glimpse of the ruins left in the wake of a fire disaster on Monday evening.
Victims relayed their sad stories as the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi; and Olufemi Lanlehin, a Senator representing Oyo South visited to sympathize with them.
One of the victims, Aminat Afolabi, said she lost goods worth N1.5 million to the inferno.
She showed her completely burnt shop to PREMIUM TIMES where she said she was selling provisions and beverages before the fire gutted everything on Monday.
“I just renewed my stock last Saturday, and yesterday was my first day of coming after the renewal. See what has befallen me now. All my investment is gone. I don’t know where to start again. It is even more painful that I took loan to add to the cash I had to have enough stock in this shop. Everything is gone now,” she sobbed.
Another victim, Amina Wasiu, who claimed to be a tailor, said she had items in both her living apartment and workshop completely consumed in the fire.
“All my customers’ clothes and mine were burnt. This clothes I am wearing was given to me by a friend this morning. I don’t know where to start again,” she said.
Everyone, who spoke with our reporter, blamed the driver of the tanker trailer for the incident.
According to them, they had warned him against taking the route given the fact that the uphill direction and it was fully loaded with petrol.
“We told him. In fact, people have been warning him right before he started ascending the road. But he refused to heed the advice. This is the consequence now,” a resident said.
It was gathered that the ill-fated tanker carried the inscription of Total Oil, and it was going to supply fuel to a filling station close to the scene of the incident before a side of its rare tyres fell inside the gutter.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that as soon as the wagon fell and the driver sensed danger, he and other two occupants rushed out and fled the scene.
An eyewitness said the spilled content caught fire when it got in contact with the flame at a bean cake seller’s shop. Though no life was lost to the incident, a number of people were said to be slightly injured and were taken to the hospital for medical attention.
But for the fact that the petrol flowed through the gutter, the impact would have been much more.
Most of the affected structures were built close to the gutter. They were structures built on the setbacks portion for commercial purposes. Many of them were being used by artisans, who repair electronics and other stuff.
Among the burnt items that littered the scene were carcasses of fans, television and radio sets
While sympathizing with the victims, Governor Ajimobi told them to be grateful to God that no life was lost.
He told the victims to give their details to government officials for relief package the state would be preparing for them.
Also, Mr. Lanlehin, whose constituency office is within the neighbourhood, said the incident was preventable if proper precautions were taken.
Apart from providing succour to the victims in his private capacity, the Senator said he would mobilise relevant government agencies to come to their aid.
He also said he would work towards ensuring that the errant driver and other individuals culpable in the disaster receive the appropriate punishment.