11 June 2012

Gambia: Tanker Truck Caused Brikama Elton Fire

An investigation taskforce committee set up after the fire that ravaged the Brikama Elton station has established that the fire emanated from the engine of a tanker truck that was discharging fuel at the station. The fire damaged the Elton canopy and pumps and spread to some shops in a neighbouring compound. The committee also established that the driver of the tanker truck did not switch off the engine while discharging fuel.

The task force committee, comprising representatives from the West Coast Region Disaster Management office, Elton Oil Company, Ministry of Petroleum, the Brikama Area Council as well as the NEA and the National Assembly member for Kombo Central, was tasked to establish the cost of damage in the incident and make recommendations for the prevention and mitigation of such disasters within seven days.

The members of the committee said they expect to complete their findings by next week Monday and submit the report to the governor of the region and other stakeholders. Governor Lamin Sanneh described the incident as disastrous not only on the side of Elton, but also for the neighbouring Sillah Kunda family. He prayed that such incident doesn't happen again.

The managing director of Elton Oil Company, Bakary Jammeh thanked the rescue services and other people for their quick response in putting off the fire. "It is a fact that the products and services we deal with are hazardous that is why we did our best to keep them in a safe place," he said.

He stressed that the fire did not extend to neighbouring families because the petrol station was top standard. He said it was fortunate that only the discharging tanker got burnt, sparing the buried tank which contains some thousands litres of petrol. "As a company, we have safety policy and discharge procedures," he added.

Buba Ayi Sanneh, the National Assembly member for Kombo Central; Serign Modou Joof, the West Coast Disaster Management Coordinator; and Serign Faye from the Ministry of Petroleum all commended the rescue officers and the community of Brikama for the assistance.

Meanwhile, the management of Elton Oil Gambia issued a media release after the incident indicating that Elton outlets are equipped with automatic shutoff valves that prevented the fire from reaching the underground storage tanks, and hence preventing a bigger tragedy. It stated that Elton Oil Gambia is currently working with the Disaster Management Committee of the West Coast Region under the chairmanship of the governor to establish the full cause of the fire and the remedial line of action to take.

"The Board of Directors, Management, Staff and their families after first thanking Allah, the Almighty for his benevolence and grace, would remain ever grateful to H.E. The President of the Republic Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh who visited the station and sympathised with our staff and all other victims.

His Excellency also offered guidance, advice and relief to all the victims and the Emergency Services immediately. In our greatest time of loss his support and concern has reinforced our aspiration to continue in our path of economic patriotism and good corporate citizenship committed to operating to the highest international standards. We would also like to thank the Fire and Rescue Services for their prompt response, dedication and professionalism in dealing with the emergency.

The people of Brikama were gallant and graceful; they assisted in limiting the disaster in a disciplined and orderly manner worthy of praise.Finally we want to thank our customers and all Gambians for their sympathy and assure them of our commitment to their safety and well-being," the release concluded.

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