About seven persons were wounded on Wednesday when fire razed a Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) depot situated at Apata area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the depot affected is the Nigerian Pipelines and Storage Company Limited, a subsidiary of the NNPC, situated at Apata, a suburb of Ibadan.
Our correspondent reports that a section of the loading point was completely damaged by fire, while three petrol tankers were also burnt.
A source at the scene told PREMIUM TIMES that one of the persons injured, simply identified as Moji, ”was caught in the raging fire, and sustained severe burns”.
It was further learnt that activities at the depot have been suspended. The usual loading of fuel has been shut down as at the time of filing this report.
The immediate cause of the inferno could not be ascertained, but a source attributed the afternoon fire to an electrical surge which sparked the fire.
One of the firm’s drivers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, however, said the fire was caused ”by one of the tanker drivers at the loading point”.
“I was there when one of the tanker drivers was removing his battery and using another truck’s battery to kick start his truck.
“It was when he put the battery and was hitting the head of the battery, trying to fix it, that fire sparked from the battery and the next thing we saw was fire, trapping everyone available,” he said.
The fire, which lasted for about two hours, was, however, extinguished by the Oyo Fire Services and officials of the NNPC.
Members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), SSS and policemen have been deployed to the scene to assist.
Meanwhile, the development caused traffic gridlock for motorists plying the popular Apata-Abeokuta road.
No official statement has been issued yet at the time of filing this report.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the depot was two years ago reopened for operation after years of neglect.
The reopening of the depot was part of the turn-around maintenance of the government to ease fuel loading and distribution in the region.