FREETOWN: A massive explosion at a petrol station in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown has killed 92 people, the country´s vice president said on Saturday.
Hospitals were treating 88 more people for severe burns, said Vice-President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, who arrived at the scene with several local officials. A rescue worker and a nurse had earlier confirmed at least 80 deaths, with the nurse saying he had treated women, men and children with “serious injuries”. According to witnesses, the blast happened when a vehicle caught fire at a petrol station after a road accident. The flames then spread, burning people in cars and on roads nearby.
The majority of the victims were street vendors and motorcyclists, many of whom were caught in the blaze while trying to retrieve fuel, according to volunteer worker Jusu Jacka Yorma who was at the scene. Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday morning, many searching for missing relatives under the eye of security forces. Video footage showed a burnt-out tanker and a truck, and the surrounding area littered with husks of vehicles, some still smouldering. “Deeply disturbed by the tragic fires and the horrendous loss of life,” President Julius Maada Bio wrote on Twitter. “My profound sympathies with families who have lost loved ones and those who have been maimed as a result. My government will do everything to support affected families.”
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