20, including a pregnant woman, burnt to death in Ondo tanker accident

About 20 persons, including a pregnant woman and three children, were burnt to death in Ore, Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State on Sunday.

The incident was believed to have started when the driver of a tanker was said to have lost control after overspending and fell into a ditch along Showboy road, opposite Optima filling station in Ore, spilling a large quantity of petrol along the Benin–Ore-Sagamu Expressway on Sunday,

Eyewitness accounts stated that most of the victims were scooping fuel from the tanker when the fire was ignited by a spark from a phone held by one of the scoopers.

Mrs Funmilayo Odunlami, the Ondo State Police Command Public Relations Officer, who confirmed the incident said most of the victims are fuel scoopers.

“They were scooping fuel from a tanker when the fire started. We have commenced an investigation into the matter,” Odunlami said.

Some were also fatally burnt when the fire spread to adjoining areas. These included the pregnant woman and three children.

“The tanker driver lost control of the vehicle and entered the ditch around 4:30 pm. The people started trooping to the place of the incident, scooping the fuel until the ugly incident happened around 6 pm.

“What actually happened was that the fuel started spilling into a stream in the community while the residents continue to scoop the fuel with buckets and kegs until the explosion occurred.

“Unfortunately, a woman was cooking in her kitchen when the inflammable product on the water caught fire, burning the woman to death while the fire travels back to the tanker.

” A pregnant woman crossing the stream with three other minors was caught in the river and were burnt beyond recognition,” an eyewitness said.

Another witness said despite the rain at the time of the incident many people still rush to scoop petrol from the spilled content.

“At that time, the rain was falling. Despite that, people still rushed there and started scooping fuel when the fire started after a spark from a phone,” he said.

“Many people would have died if the fire had started from the tanker but it started where the water flowed to the residence of a woman who was cooking. The woman died instantly.

“At the scene, we have counted about three children and over 15 bodies we can’t identify, and also a pregnant woman that wanted to buy the fuel also died in the incident. They were burnt beyond recognition,” another said.

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