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27.11.2008 Editorial

Black Wednesday

By Daily Guide
Black Wednesday

Yesterday was a black Wednesday for the country after a petrol tanker fire claimed 21 lives and inflicting burns on many others. It happened not along after a similar blaze claimed 6 or so lives in Accra.

The Techiman blaze unlike the Accra one was avoidable because most of the victims had gone there to scoop petrol from the tanker which was involved in an accident.

The victims had under-rated the power of petrol- induced fire or did not even know that the stuff is flammable and set about to scoop it.

As for the purpose for the deadly venture, it was economic. The residents sought to perhaps go and sell the petrol not knowing that inflammable stuff like petrol should not be toyed with.

The effect is what befell the nation in general and Techiman in particular yesterday.

We share with the families of the victims of the tragic incident praying that the Almighty God would give them the fortitude to bear the loss.

As for those receiving treatment in hospital we pray that they recover with speed.

We are lost for words in treating this tragedy which was unnecessary.

Considering the meager money to be made from the sale of the scooped petrol we wonder why the residents risked to that extent.

Ghanaians living along the nation's highways must be educated about the dangers in handling petrol wrongly.

Perhaps if they had known the dangers involved in handling petrol especially when naked fire is nearby, the victims would have rather taken cover away from the blaze instead of going near and even scooping it.

The gory spectacle of skulls and ashes of the remains of those consumed by the blaze is heartbreaking and we pray that it never happens again.

At the time the blaze started the security agencies and the Ghana National Fire Service could have acted to obviate what happened.

We are not under-rating the efforts they put up anyway but then if it had been a little earlier some lives could have been saved.

Now that lives have been lost we ask that another look is given the way we transport fuel across the highways and other safety measures which should be abided by fuel tanker drivers.

Nigeria has witnessed similar incidents when villagers living along petrol pipelines rush to scoop the stuff when the pipe burst.

With the country about to join the league of petroleum producing countries, there is the need to educate Ghanaians about the dangers in mis-handling of the flammable stuff.

We cannot afford to lose lives at a time when all hands are required in moving the nation forward.

It can only be conjectured the devastation the deaths have caused the families of the victims of the blaze.

And to think that these were avoidable fatalities we are saddened.

We ask that the bereaved families are supported to weather the storm created by the mishap by the appropriate authorities.

The children of the parents who died in the blaze in particular need special attention.

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