An ambulance conveying the corpse of the mother of a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Alex Onyemata, to a mortuary in Imo State was, on Sunday, gutted by fire.
While some said the inferno was a result of a leakage in the vehicle’s tank, others insisted that the deceased had warned before she died that her corpse should never be taken to the morgue.
It was learnt that the incident, which occurred few metres to the Mercy Mortuary, Umulogho, in the Obowo Local Government Area of the state, saw the ambulance, a Toyota Sienna, burnt to ashes.
A source said,
“The ambulance left the deceased woman’s compound at Dikenta Avutu Obowo with the corpse around 4pm and was engulfed in flames while on motion on the Owerri-Umuahia Expressway.
“The corpse was rescued by the deceased’s family members, who were accompanying it to the mortuary before the fire engulfed the vehicle.
“The ambulance was on motion when the fire started from the fuel tank. On noticing it, the driver immediately parked and a crowd came to assist him with fire extinguishers, buckets of water mixed with detergent, buckets of sand and green leaves, but all to no avail.
“As the fire became more intense, the bereaved family forced open the ambulance’s boot and brought down the corpse on a stretcher before the vehicle exploded and was burnt to ashes.”
When contacted, the police spokesperson in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, said,
“No official complaint was made to the police, but on receipt of the information, our men went to the scene of the incident. The corpse was already evacuated and we met the burnt vehicle, which was evacuated from the road.”