By Ononye VC
A big ball of fire and smoke engulfed part of Onitsha city centre when two adjacent filling stations near the Zik Roundabout namely,Christee and Silver Filling Stations caught fire as two fully loaded fuel tankers exploded Sunday evening,12th December 2021.
The explosion and fire caused great pandamonium as motorists and passersby scampered for safety.
Since no one knew exactly what was happening,the huge fire which one eye witness described as “Armageddon Fire”,caused heavy traffic gridlock at the Zik Roundabout axis.Many abandoned their vehicles and fled.
Many commercial buildings closed shop while residents around the area evacuated immediately.
Some people were seen salvaging their property and carrying their mattresses and other property they could salvage on their heads and heading for safety.
Hospitals within the vicinity spirited away their patients to unknown locations with the fear the fire could spread wider.
Many residents of Omagba phase 1 which is closer to the scene abandoned their houses and fled to Omagba Phase 11 area.
Some parents were running helter skelter in search of their children and wards while the huge smoke and fire billowed across the horizon.
A man was seen shouting “my phone,my phone” and running after a boy who snatched his phone and vanished into the darkness.
A lady complained that while she alighted from Keke to take cover,the Keke driver disappeared with her goods and hand bag containing N250,000.
The commotion which ensued took many by surprise as abandoned cars and Keke tricycles littered the axis.
The State Fire Service arrived promptly at the scene and fought the fire with the assistance of men of the Federal Fire Service until Monday morning.
Traders observing the sit-at-home,believed to have been cancelled by the IPOB, besieged the scene of the incident as it provided them good scenario for site seeing, discussion and gossip.
It was said that the fire started at the Christee Filling Station where they operate a cooking gas plant.
It was believed that a leakage from the plant may have caused the fire which spread to a nearby petrol station and ignited fire into two fully loaded tankers.
The tankers exploded and caused a heavy quake and vibration across Inland Town,Omagba phases 1 and11 before sending a huge ball of fire and smoke to the skies,prompting chaos and pandamonium.
No life was reportedly lost but cars and other property worth millions of Naira were destroyed including the filling stations.
The governor of Anambra State,Sir Willie Obiano has reportedly closed down the filling stations and ordered stations operating gas pumps be sealed.

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