Survivors of petrol tank fire in Siaya narrate ordeal that claimed 13 lives

In Summary

• A total of 29 people survived in the incident.Survivors of petrol tank fire narrate ordeal that claimed 13 lives in Siaya

• Area MCA Nick Ochola noted that they have a notorious bump at Malanga area which has led to many deaths within the road.

Locals at the scene where a fuel tanker exploded in Malanga Village, Gem sub county, Siaya county on Saturday night.
Locals at the scene where a fuel tanker exploded in Malanga Village, Gem sub county, Siaya county on Saturday night.
Image: FAITH MATETE

Survivors of the petrol tank fire in Siaya on Saturday that left 13 people dead narrated their ordeal of the incident.

A total of 29 people survived in the incident.

19 of them are admitted with burns at Siaya county referral hospital while five admitted at Inuka hospital while another five admitted at Yala sub county hospital.

At the different facilities, most survivors had burns covering more than 30 per cent of their body as others had more than 80 per cent degree burn. Some of them, their skin had peeled off.

Wreckage of motorcycle at the scene.
Wreckage of motorcycle at the scene.
Image: FAITH MATETE

A 14-year-old class boy said they were already asleep when they heard a huge bang.

The boy says their mother then woke them up (with two others) so that they can go check where the noise had come from.

"When we went out, we saw people carrying jerrycans running towards Malanga, saying there was free petrol. We also rushed to the house took jerrycans and rushed to the scene".

He added that their mother took their jerrycans from them and moved near the tanker to scoop fuel as they remained behind.

Suddenly within few minutes we heard a loud "bang and fire broke out and people around the explosion were all on Fire," he said.

He sustained burns on his legs and their mother had burns on her head and legs.

Another a form two student narrated how the they heard a loud bang, rushed to the scene and saw people with jerrycans scooping petrol.

He said some people went the first round but when others tried for a second time that's when it burst into flames.

"We saw people crying for help but they could not be helped because fire was everywhere," he said.

James Omollo Oketh, who sustained burns on the leg, noted that he was already asleep when he received a call that there was a vehicle that was involved in an accident along the road.

Omollo noted that he left the house to go check what happened when he saw many people at the scene.

James Omollo, one of the survivors of the petrol tank fire in Siaya on Saturday that left 13 people dead.
James Omollo, one of the survivors of the petrol tank fire in Siaya on Saturday that left 13 people dead.
Image: FAITH MATETE

"As I was getting closer to the fallen tanker, there was a burst of flames everywhere and while trying to run, I sustained burns. I didn't even know where the fire had come from," Omollo explained.

However, Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo stated that he realizes that as a country, there is a problem because the emergency response time is very minimal and wanting.

He asked the CS for Transport James Macharia to take a keen look at the Kenya National Highway Authority because they cannot make a road without a signage.

"The reason the tragedy has happened is that this particular road does not have any signage for drivers to know that they are going through a bad patch," he said.

The area MCA Nick Ochola noted that they have a notorious bump at Malanga area which has led to many deaths within the road.

Locals at the scene where a fuel tanker exploded in Malanga Village Gem sub county, Siaya county on Saturday night.
Locals at the scene where a fuel tanker exploded in Malanga Village Gem sub county, Siaya county on Saturday night.
Image: FAITH MATETE

"I am not an expert but KeNHA should come and do something about the bump either by removing or marking it," Ochola said.

He said they are also going to have an information desk so that people can account for their families or relatives.

"We urge members of the public to report to the information desk if they can not account for any family member after the accident," he said.

A local leader within the area, George Midiwo, however called both level of government county and national to move into action to help the patients move to hospitals that specialize in burns to save their lives.

"We have people who have more than 80 per cent degree burn that need urgent attention," Midiwo said.

At the scene, wreckage of motorcycles could be seen laying by the roadside with broken bones of people burnt.

Witnesses say that amongst the people that lost their lives include women and children.

"There was a woman with her kid on her back at the scene next to the tanker when it exploded," a witness said.