Yaounde: Fuel tanker explodes, razes several houses!.

Fire incident showing firefighters battling to quench the flames

Several houses, including roadside shops, were yesterday ravaged by an inferno, which erupted, following a fuel tanker explosion at the Efoulan neighbourhood in Yaounde. The incident occurred after a truck transporting fuel tumbled after witnessing a mechanical fault.

It however didn’t result in any human loss.

According to eye-witness accounts, the incident began when the truck driver, attempting a failed maneuver, toppled into a roadside gutter. 

Witnesses said the move caused the liquid content of the truck to spill along the road of the neighbourhood. 

The fuel eventually reached a household where it came across a fire, igniting a massive blaze that quickly spread.

"The fuel from the truck spilled into the gutter and flowed through the quarter," one witness recounted. 

"It met with a household where fire was being used, and from there, the fire took off," one of the victims, whose name The Guardian Post could not immediately get, recounted. 

The rapid spread of the flames left little time for residents and business owners to react, resulting in significant property damage.

The exact number of persons displaced and the extent of the losses are still being assessed by local authorities.

Firefighters from the Army Rescue Unit, who arrived the scene, were able to help in preventing further damage. They battled the fire for several hours before bringing it under control. 

Despite their efforts, the fire incident recorded severe material and financial damage. Victims of the incident have since been counting their losses.



Population in panic

The fire outbreak is said to have thrown residents of the Efoulan neighbourhood into a state of pandemonium. 

Several curious onlookers thronged the incident scene to discover for themselves what was unfolding.

With their offspring, tied to their backs, barefooted, and inconsolable tears dripping down their cheeks, inhabitants tried to rescue their valuables from the ravaging flames.

“Oh Lord, come to my aid, let me retrieve just my child's birth certificate as well as my attestations,” a victim could be heard crying.



Law officers tame crowd 

Deployed to the scene, the forces of law and order battled to put curious residents away from the scene of the disaster.

The area was immediately cordoned off, preventing residents from approaching the incident scene.

As a result of the incident, circulation and business activities were grounded for several hours. 

As we took to press last night, security forces were still battling to restore circulation. 

The incident, however, had devastating consequences on the population as they were plunged in to darkness for a greater part of the night. 

Recounting the incident, the Commander of the 10th Fire and Rescue Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Ntuntu Leonard, said efforts to put off the fire were hampered by the insufficient water available in the vicinity. 

“This evening at about 4:45pm, we were informed of the incident. We immediately dispatched a team to put the fire incident under control, despite the lack of water around the area as a result of vandalism on our previously installed water points,” Colonel Ntuntu stated. 

He, however, said they succeeded in bringing the fire under control. 

“As at now, we have not found any human casualties. Maybe at the end of operation, we could further determine that with certainty,” he told The Guardian Post shortly before we went to press. 



Population out of danger

Meanwhile, the Governor of the Centre Region, Naseri Paul Bea, who later descended to the scene, assured the press that no human life was lost in the incident. 

He, however, acknowledged that several shops and homes were touched by the inferno. 

“We are here this evening to see for ourselves the situation of a tanker transporting fuel. The tanker had mechanical problems, after repair works which did not go well. The tanker could not take off well, so it had to fall on one side of the road,” Bea narrated to the press. 

He further said: “The fuel from the tanker leaked through the valley to meet the population…an alert was made and so the people left. Then, there was a fire outbreak from the valley coming up. The truck itself was completely razed”. 

“Thanks to the prompt intervention of the firefighting brigade, and the security measures put in place by the forces of law and order, the population has been saved and the fire has been put out,” he said. 

He urged the population to remain vigilant in the face of the incident.



This story was first published in The Guardian Post issue No:3163 of Tuesday July 09, 2024

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