Personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) in the Northern Region yesterday averted a possible major fire disaster when they spotted a fuel leakage at a filling station and controlled its flow as a four-hour downpour flooded Tamale.
The fire disaster appeared imminent and brought to mind the June 3, 2015 incident in Accra, as the petrol from an underground storage tank of the fuel station at Vittin, a densely populated area in the Tamale Metropolis on the main Tamale-Yendi road, floated on the floodwaters that swept across the community.
The fire officers used foam concentration to spray the floodwaters that had mixed with petrol to neutralise the potency of the petrol and minimise the chances of it being ignited by a spark.
The flood from the downpour which began around 8 a.m. impeded vehicular movement and moved huge volumes of debris, especially plastic waste, from choked drains along the roads onto the streets.
The worst affected areas in the metropolis were Gumani, Fuo, Tunayili, Vittin-Target and Koblamangu.
The rain disrupted outdoor activities in the metropolis for the entire morning until around 12.35 p.m. when it subsided, flooding residential facilities and the streets.
The GNFS later deployed personnel to rescue residents trapped in their homes as a result of the floods.
Divisional Officer Grade III and acting Regional Operations Officer, GNFS, Mr Charles Tisong, who led the operations at the filling station, told the Daily Graphic that the floodwaters entered one of the underground tanks containing petrol at the station and caused it to flow into the floodwaters along the road leading to the community.
“We quickly moved in and urged residents in the area not to expose any naked fire to the floodwaters flowing along the road and into the community. We also cordoned off the filling station to prevent any activity from taking place in and around the area to prevent any possible fire outbreak,” he stated.
“This could have been like the June 3 twin disaster in Accra if we had not quickly intervened to control the spillage from the underground tank. We had water mixed with petrol moving along the road into the community, but we were able to save the situation,” Mr Tisong added.
He said the flood at the filling station was caused by an uncompleted drainage system that made way for the rainwater to enter the filling station.