Radio Sandwell African / Caribbean News

Scores killed in Ghana petrol station inferno

2015-06-04 18:25:52

Ghana

At least 96 people have died in a fire at a petrol station in Ghana's capital, Accra, the fire service says.

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 rescue efforts and may have led to the fire, the BBC's Sammy Darko reports from Accra.

There are fears that the number of dead could rise as the search of the site continues.

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

GhanaSurvivor Yaw Aforve said he was sleeping in his car at the petrol station when he heard the fire

Bus conductor Yaw Aforve was sleeping in his vehicle which was parked at the petrol station when the fire started.

He said he jumped into the floodwaters and when he came up for air, the fire burnt his face.

"I was swept away by the water to the other side [of the road]," he added. "I saw so many people screaming and shouting."

GhanaThe petrol station was totally destroyed by the fire

The flooding helped cause the fire, the Ghana fire service said.

The waters "caused the diesel and petrol to flow away from the gas station, and fire from a nearby house led to the explosion", spokesman Billy Anaglate said, the Associated Press news agency reports.

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 the lives they had saved but said he was lost for words to express his feelings for those who had died.

GhanaOne of those who died in the blaze was a child

GhanaThe child's mother was consoled by bystanders

On the scene - Sammy Darko, BBC Africa, Accra

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.

GhanaCars have been washed away and roads have been blocked by the flooding

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.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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