Disaster in Ashanti: Tanker explodes, burns half of village
A fuel tanker exploded and burnt almost half of a village as it skidded off the road in an accident on its journey from Kumasi towards Tepa in the Ashanti Region Monday afternoon.
The driver of the tanker, his mate and one toddler, Kofi Owusu, two years old, perished in the inferno, which lasted many hours at Onyinanufu, the village along the road.
According to an eyewitness, the toddler was sleeping in the room with the father, a stroke patient, who was carried to safety by someone.
The bodies, which were burnt beyond recognition, have been deposited at the mortuary of the Tepa Government Hospital.
A number of households were rendered homeless with personal property worth thousands of cedis lost in the process.
Visit to scene
The village was the scene of charred carcasses of animals and burnt down houses, with most residents wailing and counting their losses in lives and property.
The incident was said to have occurred at about 1:30 p.m. when the fuel tanker, which was reportedly running at top speed, negotiated a curve and came face to face with a Ford passenger bus heading towards Kumasi.
Apparently, in an attempt to avoid running into the bus, the tanker driver swerved to the other lane, but not before hitting the oncoming bus and falling into a ditch, spilling the fuel.
Other eyewitnesses said the tanker exploded on the impact of the fall, trapping the driver and his mate.
One resident, named Elder Asare, said most of the residents escaped unhurt, as they were not at home at the time of the accident.
The Tepa Municipal Fire Officer, Assistant Divisional Officer (ADOI), Mr Bodoming Wikana, said the service got a call around 13:59, and it took them about one-and-a-half hours to bring the fire under control after calling for support from the Bechem Fire Service.
He said if the people had called the fire service earlier, “maybe we could have prevented the fire from spreading wider”.
Mr Wikana said the topography of the place helped in containing the spread of the fire.
The Director-General of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Nana Agyemang Prempeh, who was in the region, visited the scene to assess the situation.
He said the pressing issue at the time was to find a place for affected people to lay their heads while the organisation provide them with some relief items.
He said he had asked NADMO headquarters for some blankets, mosquito nets, mattresses and other relief items to be given to the affected residents.
He described the accident as very unfortunate, and assured the victims of the government’s assistance in the trying moments.