Blast at Ghana petrol station kills about 90 people

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Gas Station Explosion Kills More Than 100 In Ghana

An explosion at a petrol station in Ghana's capital Accra killed about 90 people, many of whom had sought shelter there from torrential rain, on Wednesday night, the fire brigade said.

The blast was caused by a fire that erupted at a nearby truck terminal then spread to the petrol station and other buildings, fire brigade spokesman Prince Billy Anaglate said.

It ripped through the filling station, operated by GOIL (GOIL.GH), shattering windows and walls and reducing the station to rubble.

"It was an explosive fire and so the people sheltering at the filling station did not have an opportunity to escape," Anaglate said.

Firefighters battled the blaze into the early hours while police and soldiers joined emergency crews helping rescue people trapped in the wreckage, Accra Mayor Oko Vanderpuije said.

Charred corpses and wreckage of about a dozen cars and mini buses littered the forecourt of the station, where security forces kept an anxious crowd behind a police cordon.

A Reuters reporter at the scene saw some charred bodies in cars where they had sought refuge.

Team of rescuers wearing face masks and gloves went in to the filling station with stretchers to remove the remaining bodies, all of which were unrecognizable.

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Ghana gas station explosion and floods
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Blast at Ghana petrol station kills about 90 people
A car lies in a water trench that washed away after heavy rain near a gas station explosion in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed scores of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
Hundreds of people gather near a gas station that exploded in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed scores of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
Firefighters spray water over the smoldering remains a gas station following an explosion in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed dozens of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
Firefighters spray water over the remaining structure of a gas station after it exploded in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed scores of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
Ghana security personnel stand near a gas station that exploded in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed scores of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
The remains of people killed in a gas station explosion are loaded onto a truck in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed scores of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
The remaining structure of a gas station after it exploded in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed dozens of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
Rescue workers carry the remains, of a person onto the back of a truck after being killed in a gas station explosion in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed dozens of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
Rescue workers carry the remains, of a person a killed in a gas station explosion in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed scores of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
Rescue workers carry the remains, of a person a killed in a gas station explosion in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed scores of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
Ghana security personnel stand near the gas station that exploded in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed scores of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
Rescue workers carry the remains, of a person a killed in a gas station explosion in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Flooding in Ghana's capital swept stored fuel into a nearby fire, setting off a huge explosion at a gas station that killed scores of people and set alight neighboring buildings, authorities said Thursday. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)
The explosion of the Goil Station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle behind the GCB tower. #AccraWaterFloods #Starr1035fm .... Read more about it on www.starrfmonline.com
Gas station, adjacent GCB on fire. Circle #AccraFloods #rain #Ghana http://t.co/BBycKhRDyW
Circle #AccraFloods #rain #Ghana #233moments http://t.co/1otiDsy4Ce
Happening now at circle #rain #Ghana #233moments @Citi973 http://t.co/gAfhSCWLiG
People who were at the station during the explosion lost their lives. #AccraFloods #rain #Ghana. http://t.co/2DK17FO4iz
While in #Ghana, it is flooding today this hard. http://t.co/WD7PYw0beg
#flood #disaster #AccraFloods
@BBCOS @akwasisarpong Toyota Ghana showroom completely taken over by flood waters http://t.co/HnWfRwsTeA
I cried i cried my heart out ooo my beloved country Ghana😥😥😥😱
My greatest disaster ever witnessed
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Initial signs suggested the fire started by accident, Anaglate said.

Floods from several hours of heavy downpour submerged buildings and vehicles across Accra on Wednesday.

President John Mahama, who visited the area, said he was heartbroken by the heavy loss of lives and damage.

He blamed the floods partly on people building homes and businesses on waterways, blocking the city's drainage systems. Ghana's meteorological service there could be more rains on Thursday.

(Writing by Kwasi Kpodo and Bate Felix; Ediitng by Angus MacSwan)

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