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19.11.2008 Tragedy

6 killed•In Explosion

By Daily Guide
6 killed•In Explosion

blazing fire sparked by explosives claimed the lives of six people after a warehouse inferno defied control and swept across a number of houses at Nsunfa NIC, Anyaaa, a suburb of Accra.

A man believed to be a driver and his two relatives were consumed by the blaze.

There are conflicting reports about what actually happened but the seemingly authentic one has it that the driver had come to offload some goods at the warehouse when the tragedy struck.

The deceased driver's son who survived the tragedy is said to be assisting the Police in their investigations into the blaze whose story is shrouded in security mystery.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that the military is dispatching ballistic experts to the scene of the fire incident, since explosion was reported.

Security agents are working on the possible theory that the warehouse is a haven for weapons and incendiaries.

The owner of the place is said to own another nearby warehouse.

Superficially, the facility is used for keeping firecrackers but beneath it are what is suspected to be explosives which caused the loud explosions heard in areas even outside the neighbourhood.

DAILY GUIDE has gathered that unidentifiable goods are discharged at the warehouse at dusk and seldom during daylight.

On that fateful night, a blackout compelled the owner and others to resort to candlelight so they could undertake their activities, goes one version of what happened.

Unfortunately however, the naked light caused a fire followed by a succession of explosions which soon engulfed nearby residences.

What started as a small fire had soon taken the form of an inferno drawing people from far and near.

Ironically those who went there were soon running for cover for fear that the explosion contained some projectiles.

Some residents suspect the death toll could be even more than the six because a deck of the warehouse had caved in covering some persons beneath it.  

Another version of the story has it that an adult male was preparing a meal of banku for his three kids when the disaster struck and claimed his life and that of two of the children.

The sound of an explosion attracted the attention of residents in the vicinity to the source as they thought a nearby gas filling station was ablaze.

On reaching the spot they discovered that a warehouse for incendiary materials was on fire, the blaze of which soon attacked a nearby house.

A female owner of a warehouse for incendiaries was said to have organized the transfer of the highly explosive materials from the warehouse to another location.

It is suspected that the transfer was being done because of the Yuletide, according to the other version of what happened.

Although outlawed by the Police Administration a few years ago, firecrackers are still used during the Yuletide.

When the vehicle was being loaded there was a report of an explosion and the blaze changed into a major disaster within a short time.

An eyewitness simply known as Nunoo said on the night of the blaze, he counted three corpses, all victims of the blaze.

Narrating what happened, he said, “I heard the sound of an explosion and rushed to the nearby gas filling station, suspecting that was the source but on reaching there I realized that it was rather a firecracker warehouse which had been torched.”

By the time fire tenders arrived at the scene, the blaze had torched nearby houses reducing to ashes property worth thousands of Ghana Cedis.

The two fire tenders that arrived at the scene, he noted, were unable to do much to save the situation as the water they contained soon got exhausted requiring replenishment as the fire raged on.

“As at yesterday morning parts of the area were still smouldering,” Nunoo said.

A certain D.G. Ebenezer Ansah, a resident of the area, said he heard the sound of an explosion and a corresponding vibration was felt all over the place.

“When I came out of the house I found the warehouse burning uncontrollably. I identified the dead adult as my friend called Nii Boi, a carpenter. He was preparing banku for his kids when the tragedy struck,” he said.

According to a fireman who took part in the rescue operation and the actual firefighting, the blaze could have started at about 6.00pm and defied all efforts at bringing it under control for several hours.

When DAILY GUIDE visited the scene there were seven fire tenders engaged in the operation.

A firefighter who sought anonymity said they were ordered to the scene after going to rescue two persons who had fallen into a well at Sowutuom, also a suburb of Accra.

An engineer, Bernard Asare explained that the exhaust systems of vehicles emit small sparks which in a place with incendiaries can develop into a blaze as happened in Anyaa.

This is based on the possibility that the fire could have been started by the exhaust system of the KIA truck which was completely burnt down.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Saddique Osei of the Odorkor Police Station said efforts are underway to contact the owner of the nearby house where casualties were recorded.

“We hear she is a Nigerian but we are yet to contact her,” he said.

The remains of those who perished in the blaze have been transferred to the morgue for autopsy.

The scene of the fire continues to attract curious persons who are trooping to have a glimpse of the disaster.

Warehousing incendiary materials near residential accommodation is not allowed. In India a similar tragedy befell the populous country when a warehouse containing incendiary materials caught fire.

By A.R. Gomda & Linda Tenyah

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