A man believed to be about 34 years old has died, following a fire incident in Saclepea, Nimba County. Several valuables were also damaged by the fire.
According to Radio Saclepea, the man, Abu Kamara, a motorcyclist, went to purchase a gallon of gasoline from a street vendor on February 26 while smoking a cigarette.
As the vendor put the gas into the tank of the bike, the motorcycle caught fire, leaving the rider severely injured. Abu later died from his wounds at a nearby clinic.
The vendor, Daniel Dennis, told Radio Saclepea that Abu refused to cut off his cigarette, even after he had been advised to do so. Rather, he held the lighted cigarette in one hand and with the other tried to open the tank of the bike. It was during this process that the motorcycle caught fire, burning the motorcyclist. Daniel said his scratch card box, which contained about L$24,000 and over two drums of gas were destroyed in the fire.
The fire did not destroy any nearby property, because the gas vendor, Daniel, had been situated on the sidewalk, somewhere isolated from residents or business places.
“The fire destroyed the spot where the gas was stationed, and the 24 year-old vendor fled unharmed,” said one of the callers on the radio station.
Meanwhile, local residents of Saclepea have expressed concern about the selling of gas along the streets, where there are no mechanisms put in place to contain fire incidents. They are asking the government to curtail such practices.
It is common to find vendors selling gas along streets in many cities of Liberia, especially in rural areas, where it is hard to find a modern gas station.
“It is very hard to find safety measures at most of our gas stations, especially those that sell gas in containers around street corners,” said an observer.
“If this had happened in the night, it would have destroyed many lives and properties,” said residents, reacting angrily to the fire incident. They blamed municipal authorities for being too weak and showing a don’t-care attitude.