Death toll from fuel tanker blast in Sierra Leone rises to 115

The death toll from a fuel tanker blast in Sierra Leone has risen to 115, according to the government. The deadly blaze broke out on Wednesday morning at an ExxonMobil fuel depot in capital…

Death toll from fuel tanker blast in Sierra Leone rises to 115

The death toll from a fuel tanker blast in Sierra Leone has risen to 115, according to the government.

The deadly blaze broke out on Wednesday morning at an ExxonMobil fuel depot in capital Freetown and burnt for more than 10 hours.

The BBC reported three men and 16 children among the fatalities as the authorities wait for further DNA tests to identify the deceased.

A resident said the tanker had come from Nigeria, where it ruptured under pressure on the way back to Freetown.

“The tanker had been loaded with fuel from some Nigerian refineries. It’s my understanding the fuel did not get to the government side,” Patrick Arthur Kamba told local television.

“When it got to the Freetown port, however, it broke down and one of the attendants, who had to take it out of the premises, was on his way to Port Loko (in the east) when suddenly it rolled over the truck. It hit him very hard and he died.”

Mr Kamba said the truck was last inspected on December 1 and records were not kept. “The records from the Nigerian authorities said nothing about this fuel,” he said.

“As a result, it hit a truck here and suddenly the first truck that came from Port Loko got overcharged, spilling fuel and as a result the truck caught fire. That is the reason why people were killed, the residents told Reuters.”

“The staff workers of the warehouse who came from Port Loko with some vehicles went out running,” he added.

Officials with the National Emergency Management Agency told Reuters they were tracing the number of victims.

A truck driver who escaped the blaze said the tanker crashed on the highway and exploded after reversing.

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