Twenty four people are today Monday evening confirmed dead in Kyambura Trading Centre, Rubirizi District, following an explosion of a fuel tanker on Sunday.
Ten bodies were recovered on Sunday night, while 14 others were recovered on Monday by a team of police officers, UPDF soldiers, Uganda Red Cross workers and some residents.
The search for more bodies continued on Monday and the death toll could rise to 40 people, according to police.
The bodies that were recovered from the smouldering debris were taken to Lugazi Health Centre IV Mortuary in Rubirizi Town Council, while those who were injured are hospitalised at Kirembe Hospital in Kasese District and Kampala International University Hospital, in Bushenyi District.
Most bodies were burnt beyond recognition.
However, police do not have a list of missing persons.
Roadside charcoal stoves sparked Kyambura fuel tank fire- Police
Police have said the fire that gutted a fuel tanker in Rubirizi District started from a charcoal stove lit by roadside vendors. The fuel tanker overturned at Kyambura Trading Centre, killing more than 10 people on Sunday evening.
The tanker reportedly overturned after failing to negotiate a corner at Kyambura Trading Centre in Kicwamba Sub County, Rubirizi district and burst in flames. The fire also burnt two taxis that were loading passengers before spreading to five nearby buildings.
Greater Bushenyi Regional Police Spokesperson Martial Tumusiime says that the eyewitness accounts and initial investigations indicate that the flames started from the charcoal stoves owned by roadside vendors at the trading centre.
The place where the accident occurred is a major stop for travellers in need of roasted cassava, meat and plantain. Many of the dealers, use charcoal stoves to prepare quick meals by the roadside.
“The fuel tanker was traveling from Mbarara to Kasese. The spot where the incident happened is a busy trading center with lots of people roasting cassava and other roadside snacks. The driver lost control and overturned into the hot charcoal stoves,” Tumusiime said.
Rubirizi Resident District Commissioner Harriet Nakamya says that the situation is worrying considering that a number of people have since been reported missing.
By the time of filing this story, Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF officers had joined the rescue efforts.