Fire ravages Brikama Elton Station
Friday, June 08, 2012
An inferno ravaged the Elton Brikama fuel filling station Thursday. The cause of the fire, which started around 1700 hours, was reportedly caused by a fuel tanker explosionspreading a neighbouring compound, Sillah Kunda.Eight business establishments around the compound were also affected. The shops were burnt to ashes.
There was total chaos in the area immediately the fire started, with people running for their lives while the Fire and Rescue Services and the West Coast Region Disaster Management Team and other people tried to put off the fire.No life was lost, though some people were said to have been intoxicated bysmoke and were rushed to the hospital.
The coordinator of the West Coast Region Disaster Management
Committee, Serign Modou Joof said the rescue officials both from the Fire
Service and his team did all they could to prevent the disaster from getting
worse. He also said his office has taken records and assessment of the
Jatto Sillah, the Gambia’s ambassador to Guinea Bissau who
is a relative to the Sillah kunda family described the incident as
‘sympathetic’ while praying that such a disaster never happens again. “We must
all be cautious in whatever we do in order to save ourselves from fire
disasters,” he said, adding: “Before the establishment of businesses like
petrol stations, tangible regulations must be put in place.”
Morro Sillah, a senior member of the Sillah Kunda thanked Allah for saving his family. He added that his family was seriously affected and expressed sympathy to the shopkeepers that were also affected.
Modou Lamina Sanyang, operation commander of theBrikama Fire Stationwas not certain about the cause of the
fire but stated that his staff had informed him that the fire started from the
tanker while it was discharging fuel to the reserve tank.
According to him, the immediate compounds and shops were
affected but thefirefighters from
Kotu, Serekunda, Bakau, Airport and Brikama were able to contain the fire
within two hours.“Every compound
should have a fire extinguisher and people should be trained on how to use it,”
On his part, Bakary Jammeh, acting managing director of Elton Oil Gambia Limited, thanked Almighty Allah for the fact that the fire was eventually contained and there was also no loss of life. He also thanked the Fire and Rescue Services and NDMA committee for their timely response. “We will investigate the cause of the fire in the shortest possible time and we will inform the public accordingly,” he assured.
Jammeh disclosedthat they usually have between 18-20 staff on duty, adding that nobody sustained injury. “We are very touched and we are extremely sorry but we are victims as well,” he said.
Edrissa Mass Jobe, Group MD, Elton Company, thanked everyone
who assisted them in putting off the fire.He also thanked God that there was no casualty. He however clarified that the fire started after a truck
that was carrying petrol exploded. He said the truck does not belong to Elton.
He also disclosed that the Elton tanks did not explode despite the seriousness of the incident. He therefore hailed the level of standard work done on the station and indeed all Elton station across the country, saying they are built to international standard.
Jobe also decried the poor construction of certain fuel
stations in the country, which, he said could cause havoc in case of any
accident. He also commended the level of professional work on all Elton
stations. “If our station was built like a ‘bana bana’ station, then
the incident would have been worse than this because even the neighbourhood
would have been seriously affected,” he added.
He then assured that Elton will take the responsibility and will rebuild all the shops that were burnt down by the fire. “It is our responsibility despite the fact that the truck is not ours,” he concluded.
Author: Omar Wally & Amadou Jallow