Disaster struck yesterday as four persons were burnt to death and 25 others sustained various degrees of injury when fire gutted a pre-mix fuel distribution centre at Brawie, a suburb of Axim in the Western Region.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that the fire, which started around 10:00am, trapped three of the deceased persons in the pre-mix distribution room, burning them to death.
The other person was reported dead at the hospital while some of the injured persons were in critical condition.
A number of valuable items including a taxi cab which was stationed near the centre and many big drums full of pre-mix fuel were also destroyed in the fire out-break.
Earlier reports suggested that a premix fuel tanker off-loading fuel for the fisher-folk exploded when it caught fire from a nearby generator.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that but for the timely intervention of the personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service at Axim, the fire would have spread to other buildings to destroy more lives and properties.
The charred bodies of the three deceased persons who had not been identified, were deposited at the Axim Government Hospital morgue while some of the injured persons were admitted at the same hospital. Other injured persons were referred to the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital in Sekondi and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.
Even though the cause of the fire was not immediately known, reliable sources at the fishing community told DAILY GUIDE that the inferno was caused by an ignition from a socket at the centre while the distribution of the fuel was going on.
When DAILY GUIDE got to Axim around 1:30pm, many traumatized inhabitants were seen wailing uncontrollably while others had besieged the forecourt of the accident centre of Axim Hospital to catch a glimpse of the injured persons.
Interestingly, some commercial vehicles were being used as ambulances to convey some of the victims in critical condition to the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital in Sekondi.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE, Papa Yankum, an eyewitness, claimed he was in the pre-mix distribution room when the incident occurred, but he escaped unhurt.
According to him, in the course of distributing the fuel to some fishermen in the area, the electricity power went off and so a generator was brought to help pump the fuel.
He indicated that the socket in the room in which they were distributing the fuel developed a fault so there was even a spark, and they tried to fix the generator plug.
According to him, he suddenly found the place engulfed in thick smoke so he quickly rushed out and after a few minutes, the entire room was engulfed in flames, killing the three and injuring some people around the area.
He said neighboursâ€™ efforts to rescue the victims were unsuccessful as they were unable to go near the inferno.
When DAILY GUIDE contacted the Medical Superintendent of the Axim Hospital, Dr. George Owusu, he noted that 29 persons were involved in the accident, adding that three died and 26 got injured.
He said the injuries ranged from simple blisters through superficial burns to first degree burns. He added that some had their entire bodies, including faces and genitals, burnt.
â€śWe have decided to refer 11 of them to the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital, but so far we have sent about six of them there for further management,â€ť he added.
Â From Emmanuel Opoku, Axim