The timely intervention of the Firemen of the Ghana National Fire Service in Tema prevented yet another fire disaster that could have wreaked havoc at Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Tank (BOST) of the Accra Plains Depot (APD) near Kpone Barrier.
An unauthorised fuel siphoning and trading activities in the bush near the frontage of Tema BOST premises by fuel racketeers commonly called ‘Belebeles’ reportedly sparked the fire.
The perpetrators of the said fire attempted to douse it on their own but was unsuccessful thereby bolting
when it got out of hands.
It then gained momentum and spread quickly along the nearby bushes to miniature makeshift wooden structures used to house the various containers for their illegal fuel products to sections closer to about 50m to where the big Bulk Fuel Tanks are situated.
A VW saloon car whose registration number is not yet known due to its badly burnt number plate, a tricycle with registration M-20-GT-577, a bicycle, a wheel barrow and 20 pieces of 25Ltrs of yellow gallons containing both diesel and petrol fuels running into several thousands of cedis were destroyed by the ruinous inferno.
However, no casualty was recorded.
Some 46 gallons of fuel products were salvaged and sent to the Kpone District Police Station and two drums of fuel sent to Devtraco Courts Fire Station.
The District Fire Commander of Devtraco Courts Fire Station, Divisional Officer Grade II, (DOII) Philemon Buabeng, speaking on the incident, said an official of Ghana Fire Service narrated that a distress fire call was received at the Tema Mobilization Control at 1432 hours reporting an outbreak of Fire at BOST.
Knowing the sensitive nature of the said facility, he said two appliances from Tema Motorway and Industrial Area Fire Stations were simultaneously dispatched to attend to the incident respectively only to realize that a raging fire involving some bushes, makeshift wooden structures and rubber gallons close to the frontage of BOST and was rapidly advancing towards the big fuel storage tanks inside the yard of BOST and other adjoining properties close by.
He however stated that firefighters offensively and defensively contained the fire from both inside and outside the yard of BOST which helped in checking the fire from further spread to adjoining structures on the main Kpone road and the Tank Farms in they yard of BOST bringing the fire under control before it was finally extinguished.
The Commander said they have commenced investigation into the incident to unravel the circumstances that led to the fire outbreak and also to get the perpetrators of the fire to book.
DOII Buabeng implored the management of BOST to as a matter of urgency take legal steps to evacuate and flush out these fuel racketeers “Belebeles” from behind their walls with the help of Fire Service and the Police in order to forestall future occurrence of similar fire incident.
He further asked BOST to take urgent steps to create fire belts around the tank farm to act as fire breaks. This should be done under the strict supervision of the Tema Regional Fire Command to check fire spread from the nearby dried bushes.
He therefore appealed to members of the public to report such neferous and illegal fuel trade activities within their communities to the Fire Service and the Police for needed actions to be taken to avert such fires from future occurrence.
By Vincent Kubi