A pregnant woman and three children were among the victims burnt to death on Sunday after a tanker laden with petrol exploded in Ore, Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The explosion was said to have occurred when the victims rushed to scoop fuel from the tanker which had skidded off its lane and crashed.
Several sources told our reporter that the fire broke out following a spark from the mobile phone held by one of those scooping fuel at the scene.
One of the eyewitnesses, who simply identified himself as Bamidele, a hawker around the area, said the victims had earlier been warned by motorists not to go near the tanker.
He said, “I was attending to a buyer when I saw the truck driver trying to manoeuvre the vehicle after losing control. He finally swerved off his lane and crashed the tanker. So, people began to run down to the scene with jerrycans and buckets.
“Some drivers and passengers who saw what happened were even warning them not to go near the truck but they refused. Suddenly, the truck exploded. It was later we heard that it was caused by a mobile phone held by one of the victims.
“A pregnant woman, three little children and more than 15 other persons died in the explosion.”
Bamidele added that both the deceased and survivors were evacuated by men of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to a government hospital.
The Ondo Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mr Ezekiel SonAllah, confirmed the incident in an interview with reporters, saying the survivors were receiving treatment for varying degrees of burnt.
Also, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), in Ondo State, Mrs Funmilayo Odunlami-Omisanya, said some of the victims were burnt beyound recognition.
Odunlami-Omisanya added that the deceased have also been reported in the hospital’s morgue.