Disaster! Many dead in fuel station fire

BY: Francisco Baiocchi
Onlookers separated from the blaze by a raging torrent of flood waters

At least half a dozen have died and several others seriously burned in a fuel station blaze at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra tonight.

The number of casualties could be higher by Thursday, when firemen expect to bring the blaze under control, according to eyewitnesses. Apart from the fuel station, which was destroyed completely, the fire has also razed several other homes and businesses in the area, including a drugstore and a forex bureau.

 

Among those trapped in the blaze were young men who trade in the vicinity, as well as others who sought shelter from the torrential rains that have devastated the capital.


 

Some of the dead were visible on the pavement in front of the fuel station, after the floods had receded slightly; they were apparently drowned and were spotted with burns.

 

About six fire tenders were battling the fire, which was said to have started at around 9pm, unimpeded by the pouring rain.

 

Eyewitnesses told Graphic Online that although firemen responded quickly to distress calls, their efforts were hampered by the rains, as flood waters cut off vehicles from accessing the incident area.  

 

Chief Fire Officer Dr Albert Brown-Gaise was at the scene to oversee his men in action, attributed the intensity of the blaze to the torrential rains and presence of numerous combustibles in the buildings. A power outage has also exacerbated fire fighting and rescue efforts.

 

While he would not confirm any deaths, he acknowledged that many were injured, and said he would wait till day break to make an assessment of casualties.