Thursday, 4 June 2015

Ghana petrol station inferno kills 90 in Accra

More than 90 people have died in a fire at a petrol station in Ghana's capital, Accra, the fire service says.

A GOIL fuel filling station located near the GCB bank towers at Circle in Accra was exploded after it caught fire unexpectedly, destroying several houses and shops including a drugstore and a forex bureau.

Several vehicles parked at the fuel station and commuters who were taking shelter during the rainstorm at the filling station and bus stop all perished in the explosion.

the fire occurred around 10pm.

It is unclear what could have started the fire but Agya Kwabena, Peace FM's Senior Reporter, who was at the scene, quotes eyewitnesses as saying the fire trapped many who had sought refuge from the torrential rains that had cut off several communities from major roads.

According to him, the police, military and NADMO officers are still on a rescue mission, as the nation still counts the cost.

The fire started as people in the city are trying to cope with two days of heavy rain, which has left many homeless and without power.

The flooding hampered the rescue efforts, the BBC's Sammy Darko reports from Accra.

There are fears that the death toll could rise as the search for bodies continues.

Emergency workers, soldiers and police were recovering bodies from the scene, with graphic footage on national television showing corpses being piled onto the back of a truck, with charred bodies trapped in the wreckage.

Billy Anaglate, a spokesman for Ghana Fire Service, said: "We are still trying to salvage the site of the accident before we can come out with an accurate figure."

A police officer said the fire service alone had retrieved 73 bodies, while Red Cross disaster management coordinator Francis Obeng put the death toll at "more than 70".

Local hospitals said morgues were full, with the death toll likely to rise, according to security officials.

It is thought that people were in the petrol station sheltering from the downpours when the fire broke out, our correspondent says.

President John Mahama has visited the burnt-out petrol station and appealed for calm as the authorities try to cope with the aftermath of the fire and the flooding.

He praised the rescue workers for their work and the lives that they did manage to save but said he was lost for words to express his feelings for those who died.

Two days of heavy rain has brought much of the city to its knees.

There are chaotic scenes with cars being carried away by the water and many roads blocked off.

Hundreds have been trapped in their offices and some have been forced to spend the night in their cars as traffic came to a standstill.

Parts of Accra have been left without power as electricity sub-stations have been damaged in the flooding, which is making the ongoing energy shortages even worse.

Many homes have been inundated and people have been wandering around in their nightclothes after being forced to leave their beds.

One man told a local radio station that he had put his children on top of a wardrobe to save them from the water coming into his house.

President Mahama said that "people building in waterways [and] littering the drains" had contributed to the flooding in the city. Weather forecasters are saying that more rain is on its way.

Thursday 4 June 2015


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