RUBIRIZI – A total of 20 people are said to have so far died in a deadly fuel fire accident at Kyambura Trading Centre in Rubirizi District on Sunday afternoon.
The accident, which occurred at around 3.30pm, involved a fuel tanker, which was heading to Kasese, lost control after failing to negotiate a corner and Knocked stationary vehicles, which sparked the fire.
The fire immediately spread to nearby shops. Multiple witnesses told this website that most of the dead were caught unawares as they were in their shops, with others taking naps. Others were also burnt as they attempted to rescue their property from the burning shops.
Residents also blamed the fire brigadea for arriving too late that is about two hours after the fire had started.
Sincere Kansiime, a resident, told journalists that she counted 15 bodies that were being removed from the burnt houses. She said residents abandoned the rescue efforts and instead concentrated on saving property from their houses due to fear that the fire would spread there.
According to Greater Bushenyi regional police spokesperson, Martial Tumusiime, they couldn’t get to the scene of the fire in time because of the long distance.
He says that the injured have been rushed to Lugazi health centre IV for treatment He declined to comment on the number of those already confirmed dead.
He also said they are yet to establish the registration number plates of the vehicles gutted by the fire.
There have been several incidents of explosion by fuel tankers after accidents in various parts of the country in the past.
In 2000, over 100 people were left dead after a fuel tanker exploded after an accident at Busesa trading centre.
Many of the deceased had gone to draw fuel from the tanker before it exploded killing them instantly.
In 2017 at the same spot, two people were left injured and property worth millions of shillings destroyed when a fuel tanker exploded after an accident.
In 2013, over 30 people died when a fuel tanker exploded at Namungoona along the Northern bypass in Kampala after an accident.
The accident happened when a Toyota Noah registration number UAS 374C rammed into a moving fuel tanker, registration number KBL 361B which overturned.
Sparks from the fuel tanker’s battery ignited the fire which killed dozens of people who had come to draw fuel.
Police has always warned members of the public against going near fuel tanker after accidents but many have refused to heed to the advice.