TOR Fire!: The Inside Story


fire outbreak at the loading gantry of TOR. DAILY GUIDE’s source at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has narrated what he claimed was the exact

cause of the fire that gutted the loading rack of the facility, killing two persons.

The fire outbreak has worsened the precarious petrol situation in the country, with shortages recorded in some parts of the nation.

The nation’s capital, Accra is not spared the display of ‘no petrol’ sign at most filling stations, in addition to shortages of aviation fuel.

According to a statement issued by the Ghana Airport Company, aviation turbine fuel supply to the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) has been suspended following the fire outbreak at the loading gantry of TOR.

In a press statement signed by Ghana Airport Company Managing Director, Doreen Owusu-Fianko, the company requested airlines to refuel from neighbouring countries.

However, according to the TOR source, the fire resulted from a spark from one of the batteries of a truck loading at the gantry at the time of the incident, starting the deadly inferno which subsequently burnt down three of the six loading racks as well as some tankers at the facility.

He expressed surprise at the suggestion by a section of the public that the fire might have been started by persons believed to be sympathizers of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and denied reports that it was started after a driver had tried using a stone to kick-start his loaded truck by hitting the battery.

Narrating how the whole thing started, the source who prefers to remain anonymous, remarked that because of the continuous movement of fuel tankers around the rack, one part of the floor around the first rack got worn out, which made it difficult for tankers to load.

For that reason, most tanker drivers always prefer being loaded at an area just before the worn-out surface.

Playing a recorded conversation between him and the driver whose tanker was alleged to have started the fire, the source explained that the said driver had mentioned to him that it was a spark from his truck’s battery which started the fire and not what was being speculated in public.

“You see, what the driver told me was that after the loading, he did not close the covers of the tanker when he tried to move his truck, adding that he wanted to do that when he crossed the worn out area,” the source said.

“Because the tanker covers were not closed, when the truck staggered, some of the premix splashed out and poured around the engine area of the truck which started the fire and sadly killed two of our men,” he added.

He said the driver, on realizing what had just happened, took to his heels before the fire gutted other parts of the loading rack as well as his tanker and other at the facility.

“It is sad how some persons are using this unfortunate incident to play their political games. I believe that most of my colleagues are not happy about that comment. The issue should be looked at as a national disaster,” he lamented.

As a result of a fire outbreak last Tuesday at the loading rack of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), two deaths were recorded. One of the deceased workers, Thomas Ebo Friar, who was due to retire next month, burnt to death beyond recognition on top of one of the racks.

Another worker, whose name was only mentioned as Humphrey, said to have recently returned from London where he had gone for holidays, sustained severe burns and died later.

Management of TOR and the Ministry of Energy have set up separate committees to investigate the cause of the fire, with the Ministry announcing that it expects the committee to finish its work in about three weeks’ time.

In a related development, the charred remains of Thomas Ebo Friar was reported to have been interred at the Kpone cemetery over the weekend and that of Humphrey was yet to be interred.