A taxi driver, was yesterday feared dead when a petrol tanker exploded on East-West Road, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
Also, five vehicles were burnt in the inferno.
According to investigation, the incident caused gridlock forcing many travellers to be stranded for hours.
Bayelsa State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Ikechukwu Igwe immediately deployed his officials in the area to ensure free-flow of traffic along the busy road.
A victim of the inferno, who declined to reveal his name, explained that the driver lost control of the tanker after discharging fuel in one of the filling stations.
“The tanker fell shortly after coming out of the filling station. It did not discharge all the products in that filling station. The rest of the product spilled on the road.
“We later heard a bang and fire followed it immediately. It caused panic in the area but the immediate presence of FRSC officials brought the situation under control.”
Igwe, who visited the scene said only a taxi driver died in the incident and sympathised with persons whose vehicles were burnt.
He disclosed that instead of fleeing the scene after the tanker tumbled, the taxi driver opened the bonnet of his vehicle and attempted to disconnect his battery.
Igwe said in the process of trying to remove his vehicle’s battery, a spark occurred and caused the explosion.
“The driver just discharged fuel at Lionman Filling Station but as he was going out, the tanker fell. The taxi man that died in the incident came out and discovered that there was no road because other drivers abandoned their vehicles and fled the area.
“The man decided to disconnect his vehicle’s battery and there was a spark because the remaining fuel from the tanker had spilled on the road. The spark caused the fire that killed the taxi driver and burnt five vehicles.”
Igwe said his command had made an arrangement to bring a towing truck to remove the tanker, adding that firefighters were able to put out the fire.