The chairman of the Adamawa/Taraba Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association (PTD) also sustained injuries while trying to remove the tanker adjacent to the one engulfed by the fire.
Sources at the depot told LEADERSHIP that when the fire started, there were around 97 fuel tankers all loaded with fuel which led to serious anxiety around the facility as fear of fire spreading gripped those at the depot.
It was during the melee that the chairman of the PTD, Alhaji Abubakar Jiddo made an attempt to remove the tanker next to the burning one but was unsuccessful as a result of which he received severe fire burns on his right leg.
Some of the tanker drivers interviewed by LEADERSHIP blamed NNPC management for locking the emergency tap which would have aided in the hasty quelling of the fire.
“Had it been that water is running in the emergency tap provided, these two vehicles wouldn’t have been burnt.
“If there was water, we would have succeeded in quelling the fire as it engulfed the first tanker and wouldn’t have affected the second tanker but between the time we noticed the fire and when the tap was opened the fire has escalated and if not by the grace of God we would have recorded a serious fire incident today,” said the source.
Some drivers who were not happy with the attitude of the NNPC management prevented tankers from entering into the facility vowing to scuttle activities at the depot as a result of what they said was the lacklustre attitude of the NNPC management which caused their chairman to sustain injury from the fire.
One of the tanker drivers who simply identify himself as Mallam Labaran said the fire occurred when the laboratory officials scooped part of the fuel for testing but unfortunately it spilled on the battery of one of the tankers leading to the fire.
The injured chairman while responding to questions from journalists on his hospital bed said the tragedy was an act of God just as he thanked the drivers and the NNPC management for their quick response to the fire outbreak.
Efforts made by journalists to speak with the management of the NNPC proved abortive as the security personnel at the main gate of the facility said they were directed not to allow anybody into the compound.
Information from Leadership was used in this report.