By NAMO PHIRI, NIZA NAYAME and GIDEON NYENDWA
THREE tankers went up in flames yesterday, leaving three men severely burnt with one of them losing his hair in the process in Lusaka’s heavy industrial area.
One of the victims’ hair caught fire and only quick action from his friends saved him as they tossed lime on him to douse the fire. “His hair has all gone and even the skin was coming off,” a witness at the scene said.
When asked how many people had been injured, the witness continued; “Bali batatu bamene naonako. Winangu apya kusala che na boxer konse kumendo, skin yachoka then winangu enzeli nasisi. Sisi zonse zachoka.” (I only saw three men who got burnt, they were severely burnt such that one of them only remained with a boxer while the other lost his hair from the burns as his skin peeled off).
As the tankers blew up, one after the other, the workers from the different companies operating in the yard, scampered for safety.
The billowing dark cloud of smoke could be seen from as far as the city centre, almost five kilometres away.
A good Samaritan took the three injured men to the hospital as the fire engines rolled in for the rescue.
Giving an update on the fire situation at the scene, Lusaka Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer, Robert Mumba, expressed concern with the way the fuel tankers had been parked.
“We managed to quench the fire. We are yet to establish the cause of the fire. I am sure these people just park here, this is not a fuel depot or a car park. We want to find out who the owners of this place are and find out what precautionary measures they have put in place.
“The place to keep fuel tankers must be secured. As you can see there are some bushes here around, it must be an open space, but the way it is, the tankers are parked near a bush,” he said.
After successfully putting out the fire, the fire fighters broke into songs of jubilation and dance, much to the amusement of the by-standers.