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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fire Tenders in Tanzania, Mwanza

TheCitizen Newspaper: One feared dead as lorry catches fire
A lorry carrying diesel goes up in flames at a filling station in Mwanza yesterday. It took firefighters from the Mwanza City Council and Mwanza Airport two hours to put out the blaze
By Patty Magubira, Mwanza

One person is feared to have died when a lorry having 15 drums of diesel caught fire in Mwanza yesterday.

Three others were injured in the incident that occurred at Moil Oil Industries Limited (MOIL) at the junction of Nyerere and Pamba roads.

The father of the victim, Mr Vitlan Sanjit, who operates a photo studio situated along Nyerere Road, said his son fainted as he tried to evacuate his family from the building housing the studio.

Reports from several members of the family later said he had died on his way to hospital. However, reporters could not verify them as hospital sources and the police were not ready to disclose any information.

"Harun was shocked by the billowing smoke from the burning lorry across the road," he said. He explained that his son's heartbeat had stopped well before he reached Aga Khan Hospital for treatment.

Harun's young brother, Asit Vitlan, had moments later fainted and was rushed to Aga Khan Hospital following a shock from reports of his brother's death.

"I have also been informed that one of my neighbours has just passed away and I am about to visit his family to confirm the reports," one of the MOIL directors, Mr Atlaf Mansoor, said shortly after the fire was extinguished.

He said it was too early to comment about the inferno as he was still waiting for a report from the petrol station management.

One of the three injured persons, according to Mr Mansoor, included a petrol station worker, one Sajar, who had inhaled fire-extinguishing chemicals as he tried to extinguish the inferno.

Others injured were Shaaban Saimon, 30, Ulimwengu Rashid, 49, and two others whose names could not be obtained immediately. They were all rushed to Weil Bugando Medical Centre (WBMC) for treatment, he said.

The fire broke out at about 1.45pm when the drums were being filled with the diesel in the ill-fated lorry. It was transporting it to Ngara District, Kagera Region.

Eyewitnesses said the cause of the Scania lorry catching fire was a cigarette that was being smoked by one of the turn-boys inside the lorry.

It belonged to a resident of Shinyanga Municipality, Mr Oshima Luhende,

Half of the petrol station�s roof and one pump were burnt before the inferno was extinguished at around 3.50 p.m. Fire tenders had to leave the area for over ten times to refill them with water.

Mr Mansoor commended the fire brigade, police officers and city residents for working hard to extinguish the inferno.

"I can't find the right way to thank them for the support they have all given us,"he said.

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