Fuel Tanker explosion kills five
Scraps of the fuel tank at Shirikhat in Juba
By Sworo Charles Elisha
Five people have been confirmed dead after a fuel truck exploded at Sherikat, a suburb of Juba on Sunday.
Police Spokesperson Brigadier Daniel Justin told Juba Monitor that five people died instantly when the fuel tanker lost control, entered a nearby hotel and caught fire.
“The tanker was coming from Nimule at high speed and in due course it crashed with a bodaboda and lost control, came out from the main road and then crashed into these shops and the nearby lodge with a club where some people were watching football and caught fire,” Brig. Daniel said.
“So far we have managed to identify five people who have died but there are still bodies under the crash and our people of disaster management are coming and other details will get known to you later.”
The accident happened on Sunday at about 8:00PM according to police, South Sudan Red Cross and eyewitnesses.
The Communication and Resource Mobilization Manager for South Sudan Red Cross SSRC,MarialMayom said he was informed about the incident by a colleague working for SSRC residing in the area.
SSRC yesterday mobilized its volunteers who visited the scene of the incident and collected three dead bodies, he said.
“This morning (yesterday) we mobilized our volunteers and then we went to Sherikat and there we saw a fuel truck entered into a lodge and caught fire and three people died in the process,” Mayomsaid.
“What we did as South Sudan Red Cross was we collected three bodies of the people who got burnt who were taken by the authorities – the police and the family members of the deceased were there actually.”
An eight months childfrom Kenya was among the deceased but his body burnt beyond recognition, he added.
The Manager of the hotel Michael Kahure said the incident happened when he was watching football only to hear a banking sound and saw a thick smoke in the whole plot of land when he came out.
“The whole plot consisted of six shops and 34 tenant houses and a store all got destroyed plus the properties inside.
“This morning I conducted a roll with all the tenants and found out that we missed one Eritrean and a child who is eight months old.
“We have lost everything including our documents. Actually nobody was able to get anything. We just ran away because the fire was very severe to safe our lives. We appeal for well wishers to help us including our government of Kenya.”
One of the eyewitnesses, ManyakMayom Deng said the driver of the fuel tanker was over speeding when it knocked a motorbike rider and lost control then veered into the lodge and bar and then immediately caught fire burning the lodge including the fuel tanker.
“Immediately it knocked the motorcycle and even I could not remember whether the motorcycle rider had been taken to the hospital or died on spot I could not tell because I just came out to talk on phone as I was watching football here,” Mayom said.
He said the fuel tanker cut a life electricity wire and immediately caught fire leading to the incident.
The eyewitness expressed his frustration for “the slow turn up” of the fire brigade to put off the fire that lasted up to the following morning.
“I would like to know the work of fire brigade in South Sudan because the fire started at 8:30pm up to 1:00am and even up to now there is fire at the fuel tanker. What is the work of the fire brigade in South Sudan?” Mayomquestioned.
However the Spokesperson Brigadier General Daniel Justin said communication was the major problem delaying the Civil Defence and Crisis Management formerly known as the Fire Brigade from putting the fire off in time.