By: Stephen G. Fellajuah
At least eight persons are said to be wounded, and businesses worth millions of dollars destroyed on Friday, August 13, 2021 when a fuel tanker believed to be owned by Aminata and Sons, a petroleum dealing company exploded down Water Street setting several homes and stores ablaze.
According to eyewitnesses account, at about 5pm Friday, August 13, 2021, the tanker moving on Front Street experienced a severe break failure thereby losing control and somersaulted down the street towards Waterside leaving fire flames in the air, which affected homes and businesses in the area.
One of the victims who spoke to newsmen, who did not give her name or identity and whose home was also destroyed said the incidence was the fifth that area of Front Street and stated that the disaster wounded eight persons who were rushed to hospitals
The City Mayor of Monrovia, Jefferson Tamba Koijee who visited the scene of the incident termed the fire disaster as devastating especially when people are striving for livelihood in their own way. “We will follow those wounded people, which hospitals they are taken to so we can see them to ensure they fully recovered”, Koijee said.
“This is a very unfortunate situation, firstly we are grateful to God that no life was lost, on behalf of the President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, we want to extend our sympathy to residents and business owners. We are especially grateful to God that this devastating incident occurred during the day hours, and not the night. We want to say to the residents here to take courage”, he said.
The Mayor said that the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) has communicated with the National Disaster Management Agency so the agency can begin to engage victims of the fire, and called on the Liberia National Red Cross and all international partners who are engaged with disaster reliefs to come and assist the fire victims
He further said MCC is working with the Ministry of Commerce to convene a meeting on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 after which they will further meet with affected individuals on the way forward. He also described the steep of the road where the tanker passed before somersaulting as death trap for residents of the community and said the MCC is going to work along with the Ministry of Public Works to elevate the blockage properly, adding that the protection of lives and properties is the responsibility of the government.
The Mayor meanwhile, has called on the management of Aminata and Sons to make itself available and begin to take responsibility for the situation and not to wait for the government to go after them.
Ensuring that such sad situations do not occur again, he said the MCC is engaging the Ministry of Transport to now begin to properly check trucks before plying the streets. He said that when the tables that were installed in the market are turned over to the marketers, no trucks will ply in that part of the city during day hours.
“We thank the fire service department and LPRC who arrived on time to intervene with the incident, we think we have one government, as such, anything we can do to complement one another, is commendable”, he said.
He commended the Liberia National Police and the Monrovia City Corporation Police who were deployed to ensure that the proximity of the fire disaster was secured.