Apremdo Fuel Tankers inferno: Operators had no permit- MCE reveals
It has been established that operators of the fuel tankers that caught fire around the Apremdo market, today, had no permit to run such business at the premises.
Municipal Chief Executive for Effia Kwesimintsim, Kojo Acquah told Skyy News’ Abraham Mensah in an exclusive interview, that the tanker operators have been running their operations at the blind side of the assembly.
He mentioned that structures around the vicinity have only been granted permits to erect temporal structures for businesses other than ‘using that as a parking lot or distribution point for fuel’.
“As for the trucks they have not been given any permit” he emphasized.
Mr. Acquah added that a thorough investigation will be undertaken into the accident, and the necessary actions taken to sanction persons or group whose negligence caused the disaster.
Two tankers, 6 containers, 2 year old boy razed
The fire was spotted around 1:26pm today [Wednesday 6 May, 2020], by some passer-by’s. The fire according to eyewitnesses was caught in-between the metal containers that were lined up around the two fuel tankers.
It had already consumed the entire area; six containers that were used as mechanical spare-parts shop, drinking spot and eatery, a MOMO joint, were all razed by the ravaging fire in just 30 minutes. An Opel taxi which was parked some few meters away from the area was caught by the fire too. A third fuel tanker parked just about five meters away from the blazing tankers, nearly got caught by the flares.
The Fire Service which is just half a kilometre away from the scene was called, unfortunately, failed to make it on time to extinguish the wild fire.
An operator of a store [name withheld] said it took the fire tenders half an hour to reach the scene.
But Public Relations Officer of the Western Region Command of the Ghana Fire Service, D.O 3 Emmanuel Kojo Bonney justified that tenders at their station were enroute to another incident when the call came in. He mentioned that officers at the Sekondi Station were quickly deployed to combat the fire, hence the delay.
“So Sekondi had to come as a base pump before other tenders came to support. So we were able to mobilise 6 fire tenders to this place to extinguish the fire as early as possible” Mr. Bonney said.
He disclosed that it took them about an hour and forty-three minutes to ‘tame’ the wild fire.
“You know we have gas filling station, liquid fuel stations, we have other fuel tankers that are parked with products in it. We have houses and shops behind so we had to contain the fire so it does spread to those places” he added.
Mr. Bonney however lamented that the crowd that stormed the scene impeded their operations, and that advised the public to stay away from such incidence by keeping their distance, so not to fall victim to the very disaster they try protect them from.
“In fire-fighting, every second counts so when the crowd invades the scene, we meander to fight the fire…this delays our time in fighting the fire. So the police had a hectic time dispersing them” he cried.
The body of a two year old, who was identified as Henry, was later found totally burnt ‘beyond recognition’, in one of the metal containers. According to a relative, the mother who is a MOMO operator laid the kid to sleep in the container that afternoon, failed to recollect memories of the whereabouts of the son, at the face of the disaster.
Image of the burnt body. Viewer discretion is advised