Yet another Kenya fuel tragedy

June 17, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – One person has died after succumbing to injuries sustained after a fuel tanker exploded as members of the public were siphoning fuel from it on the Kericho-Kisumu road.

Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino said on Wednesday that the man, who had been undergoing treatment at the Kericho District Hospital, sustained 70 percent burns.

Forty-seven people were injured in the incident.

“A 30 year old young man has passed on at Kericho District hospital. He had about 70 percent burns,” Mr Owino said. “Otherwise the rest are still in hospital and we hope that they are going to be okay.”

The Deputy Spokesman cautioned the public against going near fuel tankers involved in accidents and added that counselling centres had been set up to assist the families of those affected.

“It’s only unfortunate that this has taken place after we had a very serious incident at Sachang’wan barely a few months ago,” he said, adding that security officials had a difficult time controlling members of the public from siphoning fuel from tankers involved in mishaps.

“We have a problem especially in Kericho where members of the public have pelted security officers with stones after oil tankers overturned, to enable them siphon fuel.”  

“They should be discouraged from doing that and be made to realise that the fuel is very volatile,” he stressed.

More than 100 people were killed at the Sachang’wan trading centre in Rift Valley barely four months ago.

A cigarette butt set off the blaze, engulfing the crowd in flames leaving another 200 people injured.  Seven police officers who had gone to the site to prevent the public from siphoning fuel were among those who died in the tanker tragedy.

A special committee formed by the Government after the disaster confirmed that four of the officers died on the spot, while the others succumbed to injuries in hospitals in Nakuru and Nairobi.

Meanwhile, police officers want the public to be educated on how to behave at scenes of accidents.

An earlier statement from Police headquarters said officers experience difficulties in crowd control at scenes of crime, which jeopardise investigations and safety.

Reacting to the Sachang’wan and Nakumatt fire tragedies some months ago, Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe had termed as queer the reactions of most Kenyans to dangerous scenes.

The police spokesman had emphasised the need for the public to avoid or stay outside a radius of 50 metres from any scene.

He said police are supposed to cordon off such scenes.

Mr Kiraithe said the deaths witnessed in Sachang’wan were as a result of curiosity and disobedience from the public.


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