A pipeline explosion occurred yesterday at the outskirt of Amukpe, Sapele Local Government Area, leaving two people dead and several others injured.
Investigation revealed that the explosion occurred as a result of the breaking of the pipeline conveying refined products from Warri Refinery at Ekpan to pipelines belonging to the Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC). The action was said to have been carried out by a syndicate that specialises in the theft of petroleum products at various locations across the state.
It was learnt that those behind the act dug a ditch around the broken pipeline from where they scooped petroleum products.
An indigene of the community who identified himself as Nelson Okudiete, stated that the entire community was covered by thick smoke immediately after the incident occurred, stressing that it was the sound of the explosion that woke many of the indigenes who were already asleep at about 2am.
Tracing the fire
According to him, “we all trooped out from our homes and started tracing the direction of the noise at that time of the day as it was strange to us and no sooner we saw a thick smoke covered the entire area. It was the odour of petroleum product that enveloped the entire community that gave us the conviction that it was another case of pipeline explosion we are confronted with in the community.” “Many of us who are conversant with the devastating effects of pipeline fire outbreak immediately started praying that it should not go beyond this point. But shortly thereafter, we saw a very dangerous and wild fire that emanated from the spot where the pipeline was broken and the fire began spreading along the river causing many indigenes along the coastal areas to abandon their homes.” Mr Okudiete stated that they could not confirm the casualty figure in the incident, but disclosed that two men whom they knew in the community had been confirmed dead, stressing that one of the men had rushed to the scene to save his relation when the fire engulfed him.
Meanwhile, men of the Delta State Fire Service were seen making frantic effort to get to the scene of the incident as at the time of filing this report.