Not fewer than 17 shops were razed after a petroleum tanker loaded with 33,000 litres of fuel, yesterday crashed into Nkwo Ogidi Market in Idemili North Local Government Area and burst into flames.
The inferno destroyed goods worth millions of naira.
An eyewitness, Chukwudi Arinze told newsmen that the vehicle, at about 11:00am was climbing the steeply section of the Chinua Achebe Bye Pass, from the expressway through the International Building Materials Market, but couldn’t get to Ugwunwasike Roundabout before the vehicle started rolling backwards.
He said the tanker fell in the market, thus spilling its contents into the adjoining routes behind the market, adding that people began to scoop fuel from the scene before the tanker exploded and the whole place burst into flames.
Ogbuli Oby, a fire officer from the state fire service also told newsmen at the site of the incident that their team responded immediately with the first fire truck stationed at the nearby building material market and also called for reinforcement from Onitsha Main Market and Okpoko, but the contents from the three trucks were dispensed while the fire kept on raging.
Line Chairman of the market, Valentine Nwabufo Okonkwo said he received a distress call over the incident but when he got to the market, thick billows of smoke had already covered the entire area.
He said 17 shops were destroyed completely while goods stocked by the owners who deal on different products have been damaged.