One person was on Wednesday feared dead when a tanker laden with fuel exploded at Upper Mission Junction on the Benin-Auchi Expressway, in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State.
The explosion, which was said to have occurred at about 7am, left no fewer than four persons injured.
It was also gathered that the fire destroyed property worth millions of naira, including four electric poles.
A large crowd of onlookers were seen assessing the level of damage done by the incident, when our correspondent arrived at the scene.
Some personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps were also on ground trying to ease the gridlock caused by the fallen tanker.
Eyewitnesses said the tanker driver had attempted to make a U-turn, due to a diversion on the road which is under reconstruction, when it fell and spilled its content.
The driver was said to have fled the scene almost immediately and some residents in the area rushed to the scene to scoop fuel into jerry cans.
The tanker suddenly exploded about 30 minutes later, allegedly due to an ignition from the exhaust pipe of an Audi car.
One of the eyewitnesses, Mrs. Deborah Afudeli, whose goods were destroyed by the resultant fire, explained that the fire spread rapidly and destroyed valuable goods before it was extinguished.
Afudeli said, “My daughter called me in the morning that a tanker fell in front of my shop and its content spilled to the side of the road. Immediately I ended the call, I heard a loud explosion.
“Before I got to my store, I realised that it (fire) had already affected everywhere. I do not know if anyone died because I was crying over the destruction of my store.”
Some of the residents told our correspondent that officials of the Edo State Fire Service had just arrived at the scene when the explosion occurred.
The fire service Director, Mr. Franklin Agbonlahor, said the fire was extinguished shortly after he received a distress call at about 8:30am.
Agbonlahor attributed the fire to the failure of the driver of the Audi car to heed to the instructions of some person who flagged him down when the tanker fell.