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Unstable economy to blame for Saturday fire incident, Siaya residents say

NYANZA
By Winfrey Owino | July 18th 2021

Some 13 people died as 11 others are nursing injuries in health facilities after an overturned petrol tanker they were siphoning fuel from exploded on Saturday, July 17, at 9 pm. [File, Standard]

Residents of North Gem, Siaya County have attributed the Saturday night fire incident to the poor state of the economy, saying the victims were out for a quick source of income.

Witnesses who gathered around the wreckage on Sunday morning said the poor state of the economy had left most Kenyans with unsatisfied needs, thus, luring them to siphon fuel, with hopes of making money from it.

They attributed the poor condition of the highway (potholes) to the increased road carnages along that route, adding rescue operations were delayed last night.

This comes after some 13 people died as 11 others are nursing injuries in health facilities after an overturned petrol tanker they were siphoning fuel from exploded on Saturday, July 17, at 9 pm.

One of the residents told The Standard on camera that after the tanker fell, people were trying to fend for themselves when, unfortunately, it blew up.

“We are sad that we have lost our loved ones. In fact, a woman and her child tied on her back fell victim of the incident. They were just trying to secure an income considering the tough economic times,” Wycliffe Otieno said.

Another one from the crowd said the road was narrow, and as a result, big vehicles faced challenges when using the road.

“This is a dangerous accident spot. Trailers and lorries are the most common victims of accidents on this road. Recently, another vehicle fell not far from here,” he remarked.

The crowd, in unison called on the government to follow up on construction tenders once, dished out and assessing the quality of newly built roads when complete.

Police reports indicate the fire started when one of the victims opened the tanker compartment to siphon petrol faster, presumably before the police arrived and dispersed them.

"The members of the public took advantage and went to siphon the petrol as one compartment of the tanker was open. Another resident realising the other compartment was closed and delaying them, opened it to enable them to siphon very fast before the police could arrive in the process it caused a spark and blew up," said Gem OCPD Mosera Chacha.

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