Residents of Duampompo in the Juaben municipality of the Ashanti Region are leaving their homes following the failure of authorities to discharge gas from a Burkinabe-bound tanker that was involved in an accident in the town.
For one week, residents have been forced to leave their homes. They have also been asked to desist from preparing naked fire close to the scene.
The situation has brought an an uneasy calm among residents who fear for their lives.
Residents describe the abandoned gas tank as a disaster in waiting.
“We are all living in fear. We are aware of a similar situation that destroyed a whole town.
I learnt government is developing that town again. A similar situation can happen to this small community too,” worried Unit Committee Chairman, Richard Darko told JoyNews during a visit to the community.
According to Mr. Darko, residents have started leaving their homes for fear of a possible gas explosion.
Among residents who are leaving the community is Benjamin Adubufuor. The medical doctor, whose family were relocating at the time of the visit says it has been tough moving from the town, considering the harsh economic situation. His residence is few meters away from the dislodged gas tank.
“As we are talking now, our lives are in danger; our lives are in serious danger my brother,” he said.
“Since last Saturday, this gas tank has been here. The fire commander educated us that we should evacuate and leave our houses. So that in case there’s a blast, we would not be affected but finding a place for a whole family like this is not easy,” he added.
Another resident, Elder Festus Duah whose house and the gas tank is separated by the main Kumasi-Accra road says he has had sleepless nights over the continued presence of the tank.
Pointing to a house nearby, he said, “This is my residence. Look at what’s happening here. How do I sleep with my family? I can’t sleep with my family because I think of myself, the family and even the whole town. I am very disturbed,” he added.
The tank lies on its side in a big drain sandwiched by residential homes on the Kubease-Duampompo stretch of the main Kumasi-Accra road.
The truck driver with the support of the Police MTTD allegedly drove away the dismantled head of the truck immediately after the accident.
The personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service, after an initial assessment, has asked residents to self-evacuate and desist from setting naked fire to prevent possible explosion.
The Konongo Municipal Fire Commander, DO3 Richard Aweso insists residents should self-evacuate.
According to him, personnel of his office have been monitoring the temperature of the tank whilst applying some coolants to prevent possible explosion.
“The Police Department and the Fire Department went there to assess the situation. Did some assessment and noticed that there was no leakage. However, we might not know circumstances that may happen for leakage to occur. So we are engaging the residents to observe basic safety measures, not setting naked fires if possible, they should even evacuate till we are done handling with the whole situation.”
But residents accuse officials of doing little to evacuate the gas tank.
The Municipal Fire Command is exploring possible options after several failed efforts to get the Burkinabe driver to evacuate the liquefied petroleum gas tank.
DO3 Richard Aweso has appealed to residents to remain calm.
“We are providing fire cover. When it happens like that, the molecules will settle when the weather becomes so hot, we move in to do some cooling as well.”
But until the gas tanker is removed, the residents of Duampompo would continue to live in fear.