TRAGEDY

Siaya fuel tanker explosion: Death toll rises to 17

In Summary

•On Monday, two victims died.

•Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga said the two, who were among the 29 survivors, died at the Siaya County Referral Hospital.

The wreckage of the fuel tanker that exploded in Gem, Siaya county
The wreckage of the fuel tanker that exploded in Gem, Siaya county
Image: FAITH MATETE

Two more victims have succumbed to injuries from the Siaya fuel tanker tragedy, raising the death toll to 17, police confirmed on Tuesday.

Among those who succumbed is a 19-year-old woman who was six months pregnant. She died while receiving treatment at the Siaya county Referral Hospital.

On Monday, two victims died.

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga said the two, who were among the 29 survivors, died at the Siaya County Referral Hospital.

Rasanga said the county will waive the hospital bills for the victims and support the families that lost their loved ones.

He also announced that a mausoleum will be built around Sidindi area with names of those who have died in fire accidents along the Kisumu Busia highway in their memory.

He said the county government has initiated plans for a multi-agency civic education drive about the dangers of fuel siphoning along the highway with partners such as the Kenya National Highway Authority.

Rasanga said his government sought support from Busia and Kisumu counties to manage the fire.

A tracing desk was set up near the accident scene to help in identifying the missing persons and any report in relation to the accident.

Siaya Senator James Orengo asked the Kenya National Highway Authority to ensure proper signage to prevent such accidents along the highway. 

Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo said the victims of the Siaya fuel tanker accident will receive Sh50,000 aid from the national government.

Odhiambo said a pathologist will help in the identification of the bodies. 

The MP called on petroleum firms to also come to the aid of the families and help create awareness on petroleum products and the risk involved.

Most survivors had between 30 per cent and 80 per cent degree burns. 

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

Their mother 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, while their mother had burns on her head and legs.

Another, a Form 2 student, narrated how 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 the fire was everywhere," he said.

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

Omollo left the house to go check what had happened.

"As I was getting closer to the 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 said.