Two explosions in a suburb of Accra, Ghana left at least seven dead and more than 130 injured as a tank delivering gas to filling stations caught fire on the night of October 7. Police forces evacuated many nearby residents, primarily students from the University of Ghana.
The two explosions that shook Ghana’s capital occurred at Atomic Junction in Legon, one of Accra’s suburbs. A gas tanker at a location of GOIL, Ghana’s government-owned gas station company, ignited and caused the first explosion at the busy intersection. The blast then caused a subsequent explosion of a gas station across the street. Local news agencies speculate that a local kebab seller may be responsible for the start of the fire.
The explosions cast drivers and pedestrians into a state of panic. A resident of the area recounted the chaos and confusion of the disaster, saying, “I saw some people being knocked down by vehicles. It was a chaotic moment. People were running away and the vehicles too were trying to [drive]to safety.”
Accra experienced a similar GOIL gas station explosion in 2015 in which 150 people died while seeking shelter in the station from excessive flooding. While the causes of these disasters differ, the recurrence of this tragedy has caused many to question the safety of gas stations in Ghana’s capital. In response to the growing concerns, President Nana Akufo Addo vowed to make efforts to create a clear policy aimed to prevent future calamities. He stated, “It is time these incidents come to a stop in Ghana…We are going to have to come out with a clear policy on how to prevent such incidents in the future.” The president explained that his cabinet will meet on October 12 to begin crafting the program intended to stop the recurrence of such incidents. He has called for the cooperation of the Ghanaian public and companies to ensure the effectiveness of enacted policies.