KARACHI  -  A speeding oil tanker overturned near Gulbai Bridge at Shershah, causing a loud explosion and fire that damaged vehicles and other infrastructure on Wednesday.

DIG Traffic Police Javed Mehar told the media that the incident occurred after an oil tanker and a trailer raced on Gulbai Bridge. “They were en route to tower when the oil tanker lost its control on the bridge while trying to takeover another vehicle on a turn and turned turtle,” he said.

A rescue official who witnessed the incident said that the oil tanker overturned on the bridge; resultantly, the diesel in it spilled and spread across the bridge and a hospital unit and a container beneath the bridge.

“Soon after returning from Fajr prayers, I heard a loud bang and a cloud of smoke from Gulbai Bridge,” he said, adding that later he found an oil tanker burning into flames.

He further informed that the oil that spilled from the tanker later spread to the hospital unit and a container beneath the bridge. “The people in those facilities evacuated on time to save their lives but the container and nearby godowns were gutted.

According to rescue officials, the fire damaged two gowdowns, five cars and two motorcycles. The rescue teams reached the site soon after the incident, and fire engines from across the city participated in extinguishing the fire.

“The fire was so intense that even after the fire engines from Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Pakistan Air Force and Karachi Port Trust also took part in the extinguishing process. It took them three hours to cool the fire,” said the chief fire officer brigadier Tehseen Ahmed.

He said that an emergency was declared at all the nearby water hydrants were asked to ensure on time availability of water and nine fire engines, four water bowser and other equipment participated in the extinguishing process.

DIG traffic Javed Mehar said that the drivers of both the vehicles fled after the incident but the police had arrested the manager of the oil tanker and two other people.

He further informed that the traffic police reached the site of the incident soon after the incident and dispersed the people involved in collecting oil spilled from the tanker.

“The roads leading to the bridge were closed and traffic was diverted after the incident,” he said, adding that it was later reopened after over a three-hour efforts to extinguish the fire and remove the debris of the oil tanker.