Residents of the Ojoo area of Ibadan , the Oyo State capital, yesterday watched helplessly as an inferno triggered by a spillage from an oil tanker burnt their loved ones into ashes.
About 26 people, including a nursing mother, died in the incident, while several others are battling for survival in different hospitals.
The ugly fire accident occurred at Aduloju community along Iwo-Ojoo Road.
Hundreds of people, who thronged the place to render a helping hand, wept uncontrollably as bodies were being consumed by the raging flames.
About 26 vehicles and equipment worth several millions of naira were burnt.
According to an eyewitness, the fire started when a tanker loaded with the petroleum product, in an attempt to avoid a collision with an 18-seater bus, ran into a pole beside the road, leading to an outbreak of fire following a spillage of its contents.
It was gathered that 18 passengers in the bus were burnt beyond recognition, while seven people who were roadside mechanics were also burnt to death.
Also a nursing mother selling engine oil beside the road was killed while trying to save her baby who was already trapped in the fire.
The fire also affected about eight buildings, including a church.
Many sympathizers could not hide their feelings as they bitterly blamed the incident on the high number of oil tankers plying the road.
They urged the government to bail the citizens out of the danger posed by the trucks on the road.
A lot of damage had been done before the arrival of the officials of the Oyo State Fire Service. They, however, swung into action to put out the fire which was already causing great panic among the residents who thought it would consume the whole area.
As the traffic was disrupted for hours, officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and policemen were around to control the situation.
The state Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mr. Godwin Ogagaoghene, confirmed the incident and said his men were already in control.
The FRSC boss, however, said the spot was dangerous for motorists and residents of the area, adding that the FRSC had made a representation to the state government about the danger posed by the Ojoo end of the expressway.
He enjoined road users to avoid dangerous overtaking, stressing that people should not always be in a hurry.