Stephene told journalists that more people were injured at the scene of the accident and that the death toll could rise.
Mtafungwa claimed the dead were mainly drivers of the taxis known as "boda-boda" and local residents flocking to the scene for the fuel after the crash.
- October 9, 2009, Nigeria: At least 70 people are killed in the southeastern Anambra state after a petrol tanker explodes and the flames engulf several other vehicles.
The explosion occurred on Saturday on the outskirts of Morogoro, a town about 200km west of the capital Dar es Salaam after a crowd had gathered around the tanker, which had crashed.
Incidents of people being killed in explosions while stealing fuel from tankers are common in East Africa.
The precise cause of the explosion has been obfuscated by conflicting claims from witnesses and officials.
A distressing video, which has been shared online, shows the badly charred bodies of the victims being dumped beside a building.
Police said people were trying to recover fuel from the vehicle, which had overturned on a major road some time earlier, when the blast happened.
Bodies of those who succumbed have been moved to Morogoro Regional Hospital.
"Unfortunately fire broke out and burned a lot of people, a lot of people have lost their lives in this incident", he said.
Daniel Ngogo, a witness, told Reuters: "The situation is really bad".
Firefighters fro Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) and Fire Brigade have since been carrying out a rescue operation.