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Gas explosion in Sunyani wreak havoc as properties worth millions of cedis burn to ashes

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Gas explosion at Asufufu AGL Gas filling station, a suburb of Sunyani in the Bono Region has wreaked havoc on properties worth millions of Ghana Cedis on Wednesday night at about 9:15 pm. The wreckage at the scene tells the whole story of the havoc.

The inferno destroyed the filling station, four (4) vehicles including a 26,000 size capacity tanker and a story building about seven (7) meters from the station. The incident took the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) several hours to bring the inferno under control.

The Bono Regional Fire Service Commander, Assistant Chief Fire Officer 1 (ACFO 1), Olivia Ayem, who visited the site with her officers after the inferno was put off, said they had done their assessment and were investigating the actual cause of the fire. She said they were working as a team with the Ghana Police Services, National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine the actual cause of the fire.

In an interview with the media, the Region Fire Commander observed that proper fire safety measures were not adhered to. She noted that a Fire Official was supposed to be there to supervise the discharge but that was not the case.

Also, she said gas was not supposed to be discharged at night, which she observed was also flouted. Again, attendants are not supposed to be dispensing gas whilst discharging was ongoing, but that was also flouted.

On the house that was burnt, the Fire Commander said the safety measures were not also adhered to. Madam Olivia noted that there should be at least 15 meters apart, between the filing station and the house but it was about six (6) meters closer to the station.

She called on the general public to adhere to fire safety measures to save lives and properties. Chereh Diabour, the Vice President of the Ghana Liquefied and Petroleum Operators Association (LIPOA) also observed that the Emergency Stop was not working. He added that the station did not have a stationary discharge pump with a metal fitted but rather a borrowed one which had holes and could easily be decoupled.

Several measures that were supposed to be adhered to were being flouted per ongoing investigations for actions to be taken to forestall future incidents.

Kwame Stephen, on witness account, said he stays around the area and rushed to help when they suddenly saw the flames. “We broke many car glasses to enable us to push them to safety areas. The attendant was dispensing gas to the saloon Opel car when it was caught up with the fire and they ran away,” he said.

One of the challenges for the investigations team was that the tanker driver and the filing station attendants have fled the scene, leaving them with no one to talk to. The station owner according to LIPOA Vice President, Chereh had also put off his phone.

Present at the scene on assessment and investigations were the GNFS, NPA, LIPOA and Bono Regional Director of Factories.

 

Source: imoro t. ayibani, contributor

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