The General Manager of Transport Company of Anambra State (TRACAS), Mr. Tony Ileka, has said that the company lost 10 buses and six drivers to Saturday’s petrol tanker fire in Port Harcourt.
The fire started when the tanker burst into flames at Eleme roundabout in Port Harcourt in the early hours of that day.
The tanker belonging to Snow Oil, Enugu, fell while trying to negotiate a turn at the Eleme round about and caught fire in the process.
The Rivers State Police Command had earlier said that four persons died, while 13 vehicles and 15 make shift shops were destroyed by the fire.
Ileka told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Sunday that the death toll rose to six when two drivers affected by the fire died in the hospital.
He said that the buses which were registered with his firm, plied the Port Harcourt/Onitsha route, and the Awka/Ekwulobia/Port Harcourt routes.
“The drivers who died were sleeping in their buses parked inside the Eleme round about motor park when the tanker exploded and caught them unawares.
“Those who survived the fire just strolled out to either take fresh air or to buy something,’’ he said.
Ileka said that many other drivers were badly burnt by the explosion and were in the hospital receiving treatment, while some others could not be accounted for.
He said that the FRSC and the police had commenced full investigation into the cause of the fire and that the company would react formally after their investigation.
“This is a big loss to TRACAS. I lack words to express what happened at the Eleme round about park.
“We are making arrangements to give the deceased a befitting burial and have already notified their families.
”Our station manager at the park is still collating the casualty figure and extent of loss,’’ he said.