Tragedy struck on Sunday morning in Koko, Warri North local government area of Delta State, as an unspecified number of persons were feared dead following a petrol tanker explosion.
Among the dead were a pregnant woman, children and some youths of the community.
Some of the dead bodies were burnt beyond recognition, while vehicles, including the exploded tanker, were also burnt.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the explosion occurred in the early hours of Sunday after the truck lost control and crashed, spilling its contents on the road.
Residents thereafter began to rush to the scene in order to scoop the fuel.
The explosion was said to have started as a result of a spark from a faulty vehicle close to the truck while the victims were busy scooping fuel that spilled from the crashed tanker at Koko junction along the Warri–Benin City Highway.
According to another source in the area, who gave his name as Salvation, “the explosion occurred when the fuel was ignited by a spark from a phone held by one of the people who were scooping fuel that spilled from the tanker.”
The source, a night trader in the area, added that over 20 bodies were roasted in the inferno, including three children and a pregnant woman.
He said: “I was in my shop when I heard the tanker crashing. People were taking fuel when fire started after a spark from a phone.Three children died and we have counted over 20 bodies. A pregnant woman who wanted to buy the fuel also died.
“Security men tried to prevent them, but the youths were not bothered because it is their community. They came in their numbers carrying all sorts of containers.
“You can see dead bodies on the ground, some of them ran into the forest as I speak some dead bodies have been removed,” he narrated.
Meanwhile, the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Bright Edafe, when contacted, said there was no detail on the incident yet.
“I am very well aware of it. I am waiting for the full details from the Area Command,” the PPRO had said as the time of this report.