One of the pipelines through which the fuel with fire flowed. INSET: The cherred remains of the victim at the scene of fire
THE CHARRED body of a man alleged to be siphoning petroleum product from a leaked Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) pipeline at the Heavy Industrial Area in Tema, has been found after a wild fire engulfed some of the pipelines after an explosion.
The blaze was said to have trapped the victim while allegedly siphoning the fuel which flowed in the area into a nearby refuse dump which was already on fire.
It sparked off fire immediately the fuel got in contact with the fire on the refuse dump and spread to engulf the deceased, burning him to death.
He was said to have earlier attempted to escape upon seeing the fire moving in a fast pace, but was allegedly electrocuted by an electric cable which fell on him.
The charred corpse has been deposited at the Police Hospital in Accra for autopsy, pending further investigations into the incident.
Properties such as vehicles, spare parts, pipelines some of which were made of plastic, were also destroyed in the inferno.
It took four different tenders from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) about three hours to bring the fire under control and to prevent it from spreading to other factories close to TOR.
The incident nearly got nasty when fire personnel at the scene ran short of water for over 30 minutes. Some workers of the oil refinery got infuriated and hurled insults at the firemen.
The Tema Regional Fire Officer, Gilford Tetteh Adams, told a section of the media that the cause of the fire was the siphoning of the fuel by some illegal fuel dealers, popularly known as ‘Belebele boys.’
According to him, the fire started at about 3:30 pm, adding that when workers around realized its intensity, they alerted firemen and also rushed to the scene to help bring it under control.
He said firemen who arrived at the scene had to battle the fire for more than three hours before they were able to bring it under control and retrieve the charred body of the victim, whose identity had not been established.
Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister who rushed to the scene upon hearing the fire outbreak, told journalists about the need for management of TOR to put proper security measures in place to protect state assets.
An eyewitness told DAILY GUIDE the leakage started a couple of days ago and management of TOR was informed about it but paid no heed, giving the opportunity to squatters and the illegal fuel dealers to siphon the product from the pipeline to sell.
All efforts to get management of the country’s oil refinery company to speak on the issue proved futile as they were tight-lipped.
From Vincent Kubi, Tema
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