President Bio receives Report into causes of Wellington fire disaster which killed over one hundred and fifty 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 April 2022:

President Dr Julius Maada Bio yesterday received a report from the 15-man Presidential Taskforce set up to investigate the causes of the Wellington petrol tanker fire disaster which took place on the 5th of November last year, claiming the lives of over 150 people and leaving dozens seriously injured.

Chair of the committee and Director General of the National Disaster Management Agency, NDMA, Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Brima Sesay presented the report which he said contains findings with general and specific recommendations for all institutions that constitute the Sierra Leone Incident Management System (SLIMS).

“First, we found out that the behaviour of the public, following the collision, was a major contributing factor to the scale of the incident and a serious cause for concern. At the outset…despite the tanker driver using a megaphone borrowed from a nearby seller to advise the public to avoid the scene, he was reportedly insulted and his advice completely ignored,” he said.

He noted that the fire disaster occurred after a collision between the fuel tanker and a tipper truck over half an hour before the explosion.

Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Sesay added that there was poor communication between the security services and the Petroleum Regulatory Agency, responsible for regulating oil marketing companies, and emphasised the need to enhance effective communication among all players in the SLIMS.

“Your Excellency, it is fervently hoped that one critical turnaround point in the entire emergency management establishment in the country is the provision of knowledge to the public on dangers associated with industrial products in BRVs or fuel tankers that ply the carriage-way in the country,” he said.

In his response, President Bio described the incident as a national disaster – the magnitude of which has never been seen in recent times, adding that he had to cut short his trip abroad to return home to provide leadership, give hope and console the bereaved.

“We were overwhelmed but, in the circumstances, you led the response. I want to use this opportunity to thank you the NDMA and all other agencies that were first responders. It includes the military, the fire force, the medical team and all forces that came to help on that day.

“I was particularly pleased with the health professionals who did their best and took care of our compatriots, the victims. This is a clearer indication that we must all work together, especially at difficult times,” he said.

He assured that his Government was going to take a closer look at the findings and recommendations to come up with policy and measures that could prevent such disasters from happening in the future.

“But I think the lessons brought out in these recommendations, especially with regards to lawlessness, to the inactions by certain agencies or lack of rapid reactions to incidents of this nature, point to the fact that as a government we should prevent, where possible, or should always be ready for incidents of this nature,” President Bio said.

2 Comments

  1. The reality is, Freetown is overpopulated by petty traders and Okada riders who are not only lawless, but are taking advantage of our citizens during this difficult times through price gouging. Our security apparatus are even the main target of some of these lawless people based on fact that most of the regular people officers only carries handcuffs as. compared to the USA where they carry guns.
    Greed was the main reason for the loss of the lives of some innocent people. Petty traders have no business in selling fuel which is an inflammable and dangerous material.
    Lets continue to hope and pray that lessons will be learned from this unfortunate incident. May their souls continue to Rest In Peace.

  2. Same old same old .This is a government on it’s last legs .This report is a typical of a government that have abandon all it’s responsibilities to it’s people , and is trying to look for scapegoats to blame for it’s utter failures on delivering for the people that elected it in the first place .Now lets take the opening paragraph of the report that for all intent and purpose tried to exnorate the government and it’s failed economic polices that is looming large like a dark cloud over the Wellington tanker disaster.This was an accident waiting to happen .Our roads network in the country are death traps for both drivers and passengers and to some extent the people that lives along this roads up and down the country .

    The amount of Sierra Leoneans killed on our roads is higher than what COVID19 have unfortunately claimed amongst our people .There is an unseen pandemic of deaths on our roads that the government should declare a national road safety emergeency.The report seemed unashamedly to point the finger of blame on the public that were accused of trying to steal petroleum from this oil tanker that was involved in an accident in that vicinity.In defence of the drivers involved , if our roads were road worthy and clearly marked by traffic control lightning , an island that separate in coming and out going traffic ,enough street lighting that give drivers a clear view of the road ahead , a government that creates the economic conditions for our youths to pursue their careers and dreams , an unemployment rate that is not in double digits,a well resource Freetown fire brigades, with different spots dotted around the city for those sort of emergency, then if all of the above is in place , then Bio and his cronies will wash their hands of any responsibilitis of the fire disaster that took place .To me they are guilty as hell .

    They have blood in their hands .As a government that is supposed to look after the welfare of it’s people they have abandoned that duty of care and they are guilty as hell about what took place in Wellington.Are we going to see any changes ? We are not there yet .Our country still can’t afford a fire engine, we have to rely on communist China for donation from their left over stock .Bio have promised he will act on the report .But we know he is an actor .His words are full of antidots and sound bites for international and public consumption.

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