BULAWAYO – A devastating explosion rocked the Kelvin West industrial area in Bulawayo yesterday as a petrol storage tank erupted in flames, triggering a raging fire that left a trail of destruction in its wake. The incident occurred at a fuel storage depot operated by Cleaver Investment along Khami Road, next to the District Development Fund now RIDA depot.
Eyewitnesses recounted the horrifying scene as the explosion sent flames soaring into the sky, prompting pedestrians and motorists along Khami Road to flee in panic. The intense fire quickly engulfed the surroundings, leaving vehicles and property within its reach reduced to charred ruins.
In a grim turn of events, a fuel tanker belonging to Multi-movers was also consumed by the fire. The tanker had reportedly been at the depot to load fuel before the incident occurred. Admire, one of the owners of the fuel truck, expressed devastation as he described the situation. “This fuel truck which has been reduced to a shell is ours. It had come here to load fuel for further distribution,” said Admire.
Bulawayo Fire Brigade’s swift response played a critical role in containing the inferno, despite the risks posed by the presence of other fuel tankers. The fire brigade’s efforts were hampered by the danger posed by the burning storage tank, leading to a cautious approach to extinguishing the flames. The crowd of onlookers that gathered at the scene braved the potential danger, swelling as the fire brigade teams fought to bring the situation under control.
Approximately 30 minutes after arriving on the scene, the fire brigade managed to subdue the fire, allowing people to cautiously retrieve property from the affected offices and vehicles within the premises. The incident has left the community in shock, and exaggerated versions of the event rapidly circulated throughout the city center.
The cause of the explosion and subsequent fire remains under investigation, as authorities work to assess the extent of the damage and ensure the safety of the area. This unfortunate incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential risks associated with fuel storage and distribution, underscoring the importance of stringent safety measures in such environments.- state media