Port Harcourt: Petrol tankers catch fire, as youths chase away firefighters

Tina Amanda

The inferno that burnt down two Petroleum Tankers at Heritage Oil filling station on Iwofe Road, Rumuolumeni in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, laden with Premium motor spirit has been put out by volunteering youths in the area.

The fire, which started at about 6 o’clock on Tuesday morning lasted for over two hours thirty minutes without a response from the state Fire Service.

In an interview with our correspondent Tina Amanda, Chief Security Officer of the Heritage Gas and Chemical Oil, Anthony Duru, said the fire started during the discharging process of the petroleum Product.

He said several distress calls were made to the fire services, only for them to arrive at about 8 am when the fire was almost put out by volunteers of the community.

“The discharge of the petrol was ongoing when suddenly we heard an explosive sound from an unidentified source, we immediately brought out seven fire extinguishers to fight it, we tried, but the inferno kept persisting.

“I personally put several calls to the state fire service office, they kept telling me that they have sent out a rescue van, which was yet to arrive the scene as at the time the fire was so intense. The community Youths came out to support, we bought omo and they began to fight the fire single-handedly without any equipment.

“We thank God that we were able to stop the fire without the help of fire services. Two Petroleum trucks were burnt and some other things where destroyed, but I am grateful that there was no loss of life”

Some of the volunteering Youths who assisted in putting out the inferno told our correspondent that the community youths angrily chased the firefighters away for arriving late.

They lamented that fire service’s operation is not effective as lives and property of people living in the state are not safe with such slow response to emergency.

According to them, people started calling fire fighters as early as 6 am only for them to arrive the scene two hours later, when the community Youths have almost quenched the inferno, adding that the Youths had no other option but to chase them away with their fire equipment.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Sir Peter Medee, on his prompt arrival to the scene, expressed gratitude to youths of the community for their gallant support to the State Government in fighting the fire.

He expressed happiness that there was no casualty recorded, despite the intensity of the fire.

Sir Medee noted that the ministry is putting so much efforts in sensitizing Petroleum dealers in the State on how to avert such incidences, in order to protect lives and property of Rivers people.