The Star (Nairobi)

17 August 2014

Kenya: Six Dead, 9 Critically Injured After a Petrol Tanker They Were Siphoning Fuel From Exploded At Kamara

Six people were confirmed dead following the explosion of a fuel tanker they were siphoning petrol from on Saturday night at Kamara area along the Nakuru Eldoret highway.

Out of the six, five were burnt beyond recognition while the other died while receiving treatment at the Eldama Ravine district hospital.

Nine other people received critical burn injuries and were admitted at various hospitals in Nakuru, Eldama Ravine and Molo following the midnight incident.

Six victims were said to be admitted at the Eldama Ravine hospital while two others were transferred to the Nakuru Provincial General hospital and one at the Molo district hospital.

Eyewitnesses say that scores of local residents most from the nearby Total trading centre thronged the scene after a tanker ferrying super petrol rolled several times and landed into a ditch at around 10 pm.

According to Nakuru County administration police commandant, the driver and turn boy of the tanker were injured in the accident after their vehicle rolled as the driver tried to avoid ramming head on into an oncoming lorry.

The two were rushed to hospital by well wishers and were therefore not at the scene at the time of the explosion.

"Our officers were very fast in arriving at the scene and were helping to control traffic when all of a sudden, hordes of men started arriving at the scene carrying plastic containers wanting to scoop the fuel," the commandant said.

The rowdy group engaged police at the scene in a chase game for close to an hour before they overpowered the few officers.

Minutes later, a loud explosion was heard and a ball of fire engulfed the scene as those nearby scampered for safety.

"I heard people say that they saw a young man light a match stick but no one really knows as we were all running away," Cyrus Kirui who received minor burns said.

Fire fighters from Nakuru County were called into the scene and helped contain the fire and evacuate the injured.

Governors Kinuthia Mbugua (Nakuru) and Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo) and Kericho senator Charles Keter visited the scene early Sunday. The three made calls to the central government to prioritise the rehabilitation of the highway stretch between Total and Salgaa into a dual carriage way to cut down on the high cases of accidents along the area.

The accident happened a few kilometres from Sachang'wan where more than 130 people lost their lives in a similar incident five years ago.

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