Anambra State Government on Monday announced that it has sealed and taken possession of the two fuel stations, Chris Tee and Silver Fuel Station around Borromeo roundabout, Onitsha which was gutted by fire Sunday night.
State Governor Willie Obiano announced this today when he visited the scene of the inferno in the company of some officials of his government.
The fire incident which happened Sunday night at about 8pm, had started at one of the filling stations before escalating to another nearby station and a mechanic workshop where over 15 vehicles were gutted by fire.
Although there were no official figures as to how many were injured, no life was lost to the inferno.
According to an eyewitness report, the explosion occurred at about 8pm with an earth-shaking noise.
It had taken the State Fire Service till 1:25am this morning, to bring the fire under control, according to the State Fire Chief, Engr Martin Agbili.
Speaking at the scene of the inferno, Governor Obiano revealed that intelligence report he got showed that the fire was ignited when the petrol stations were in the process of offloading and discharging cooking gas.
Obiano who noted that the owners of the facilities are on the run said the government is after them and has also taken over the place.
“This reinforces our earlier warning that we do not want cooking gas skids sited in filling stations because it is disastrous.
“As you can see, they were trying to discharge gas yesterday when this happened and you can also see the damage caused.
“This is totally unacceptable and our government has taken over this place and it will no longer be a filling station.
“This is a built-up area and also densely-populated, yet this kind of facility was set up. We can’t tolerate that,” he maintained.
The governor also directed law enforcement agencies to close down fuel stations in the state where gas skids are cited, warning owners of petrol stations to desist from building such within their premises.
“This is something we will do immediately to forestall a recurrence of this kind of ugly incident.
“Our people must learn to do business with decency and not put other people’s lives in jeopardy just in a bid to make money,” Obiano said.
He commended the state fire service for its prompt response to the challenge, noting that if not for their intervention, the damage the fire would have done, would have been enormous.
Earlier, while briefing the governor, the State Fire Chief, Engr Agbili debunked rumours that the damage was much because the fire people came unprepared to the scene.
He disclosed that his men arrived at the scene with four fire-fighting trucks, with which they fought the fire till about 1:25am today when they brought it under control.
Agbili advised members of the public to always alert the Service promptly whenever there is a fire, to enable them respond appropriately.