Three people were on Thursday burnt to death in an accident involving a fuel tanker at the Toll Gate end of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Ogun State.
Four others were injured and 12 vehicles burnt in the inferno, as goods worth millions of naira were destroyed.
Our correspondent, who visited the scene, gathered that the tanker driver, who was driving outward Lagos, sighted some money-seeking miscreants close to the Toll Gate and tried to avoid them.
He was said to have driven at top speed and veered into the Ilo Awela Road.
The tanker, laden with 35,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) reportedly upturned while ascending the sloppy road and spilled its content, which led to the fire.
An eyewitness, Segun Omojagun, who spoke to our correspondent, said the accident was caused by the miscreants.
He said, “The incident happened around past 1am and was caused by some area boys who extort money from truck drivers at night close to the Toll Gate. The tanker driver was trying to escape from them while driving fast. But by the time he got to the junction, he could not control his speed. That was how he drove into the bend, lost control and tumbled. The area boys ran away immediately the incident happened.”
Another eyewitness, Rufai Temitope, said the fire was caused by a spark from the exhaust of a commercial bus.
He said, “The fire did not start immediately the tanker fell. The petrol was still spreading across the road and drainage. The fire started when the driver of a commercial bus parked close to where the tanker fell rushed to move it away from the scene. But by the time he started the engine, the exhaust of the vehicle caused a spark and ignited a fire. He died instantly, including the tanker driver, although the motor boy escaped.”
It was gathered that some vehicles and tricycles parked around the area got burnt.
Three BRT buses parked some meters away from the spot were also destroyed by the fire.
A middle-aged man, identified simply as Murphy, was said to have died while asleep in one of the tricycles.
Another transport worker, identified as Roadside, was said to be battling with his life after the fire caught up with him while also sleeping in his tricycle.
A motorcyclist and one other unidentified person also died in the fire.
A tricycle rider, Samson Oludairo, said his tricycle and his wife’s goods were destroyed by the fire.
He said, “I also got to know that my friend, who was sleeping in his tricycle got burnt to death. The other person who was also in one of the tricycles is now battling for his life. He was rejected by some hospitals he was taken to this morning, including FMC, before he was referred to LUTH.