Three dead in Ghana as gas truck fire causes explosions
At least three people were killed and dozens injured after a tanker truck carrying natural gas caught fire in Ghana's capital, Accra, triggering explosions at two fuel stations, emergency services said Sunday.
Ghana National Fire Service spokesman Billy Angalate said two of the victims died at the scene of the incident in the Legon area of the city on Saturday night, and the third in hospital.
"In all, 35 people were affected. Out of the 35, three of them died, the rest are at the hospital. Five them, as at 1:00 am (0100 GMT), were sent to the intensive care unit," he told AFP.
The fire and explosions, which gutted a liquefied gas filling station and a nearby petrol station, sent local residents running from their homes.
Ghana's capital was the scene of a similar fire and explosion at a petrol station in June 2015 which killed more than 150.
Angalate said one of the dead on Saturday died after jumping from a flyover at the busy Atomic Junction roundabout, where there are three fuel stations, transport services and restaurants.
It is also near a high school and the University of Ghana campus.
The country's deputy minister of information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said the government deployed about 12 fire trucks and 200 police personnel to cordon off the scene and manage traffic.
"A lot of people quickly rushed away, which is what saved a lot of lives but also caused a lot of panic," he added.
The latest incident sparked outrage among some Ghanaians on social media about the safety of filling stations, many of which are located near schools, hospitals and businesses.
A petition was created addressed to President Nana Akufo-Addo, demanding better regulation and inspection of existing and proposed facilities.
They include siting them at least 50 metres from homes and 100 metres from schools and hospitals.
Abena Awuku, a Ghanaian living in the Netherlands, proposed the measures on the change.org site, saying fuel stations were "all disasters waiting to happen and the time to act is now".
"There was a similar incident two years ago and we were fed lies and empty promises about regulations going to be put in place but then we had to witness this," she told AFP later.
"These deaths could have easily been prevented, so let's prevent them from ever occurring again in the future."