At least 7 killed in Haiti tanker truck explosion
At least seven people were killed and some 30 others seriously burned Thursday in Haiti when a tanker truck belonging to the Total oil company caught fire and exploded.
The accident took place in the town of Hinche, located some 110 kilometers (65 miles) northeast of the capital Port-au-Prince.
Witnesses told AFP that the tanker truck hit a wall and spilled gasoline as it was getting in place to unload fuel at a Total service station.
The flammable liquid spread and caught fire when it reached vendors cooking food on outdoor grills. The flames quickly returned to the tanker, which set off the explosion.
Seven people died on the spot, and the burn victims were rushed to area hospitals and to Port-au-Prince for treatment, Haiti's Civil Defense office said.
"I saw people screaming as they were being burned alive, and no one could come to their aid," a motorcycle taxi driver told AFP.
Hinche, like many Haitian towns outside of the capital, has no fire department.
"Blue Helmet" soldiers with the United Nations stabilization force rushed to the scene and were able to contain the blaze.
Four homes neighboring the Total service station also went up in flames, and 22 vehicles were damaged, local authorities said in a preliminary assessment.