An explosion at an illegal fuel bunkering station, near the Apremdo Market in the Western Region, yesterday claimed one life and destroyed about 12 shops, two fuel tankers loaded with diesel and a taxi cab.
The deceased, a two-year-old boy, was sleeping in one of the shops which was caught up in the blaze.
Plumes of thick black smoke drifted into the sky, while people fled for safety.
According to an eyewitness, the fire started between some container shops and a nearby Total fuel station and LPG station.
However, the Total fuel station and the LPG station were not affected.
The site of the fire has allegedly been used, over the years, by illegal fuel traders and also serve as a parking area for fuel tankers.
The Effia Kwesimintim Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Kojo Acquah, who visited the scene, said he was not aware of the illegal activities in the area.
The source said the illegal fuel traders supplied diesel to tipper truck drivers in jerricans.
It said at the time of the fire, one of the tankers had finished discharging its fuel.
When the Daily Graphic got to the scene, the fire was still intense.
Fire fighters from various parts of the metropolis supported the Apremdo Fire Station to battle the blaze.
It took the Fire Service about an hour and half to contain the situation.
A trader in the area told the Daily Graphic that the mother of the two-year-old child had left him in her mobile money shop to pick up an item nearby.
Moments after she left, the explosion erupted.
When she returned, she could only stand before the firemen, speechless.
The Fire Service said it was yet to determine the cause of the fire, but that it had started investigations.
Speaking to the media, the Western Regional Fire Officer, Mr E. K. Bonney, said the team managed to control the situation, otherwise it would have been more disastrous.
“The two fuel tankers had fuel, one with full load; the Total fuel station also had products, and next to the fire, less than 70 metres away, is the LPG retail point,” he said.
“We were able to contain one of the three tankers at the site before the fire could reach it. However, the two other tankers were completely damaged,” he added.
He said eyewitnesses claimed that the area was known for illegal bunkering, “but we cannot confirm that”.
Mr Bonney explained that the said illegal activities were unrelated to the operations of the Total and the LPG stations near the disaster scene.