Kenya Oil Tanker Blast Kills 111

Explosion occurred as resident scramble for free fuel
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Feb 1, 2009 4:49 AM CST
A burned petrol tanker lies on its side on Molo Road in Molo, several hours outside Nairobi, Kenya, today.   (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – At least 111 people were killed when a truck transporting oil crashed and exploded in central Kenya last night, reports Reuters. The explosion, one of the worst recent disasters in eastern Africa, occurred just as Rift Valley residents crowded around the crippled tanker to gather spilling fuel. Rescuers speculated that someone may have accidentally dropped a cigarette, but also suspected that the fire may have been deliberately set by an angry resident blocked from the scene by police.

This is the second large-scale lethal fire in Kenya this week, leading the local media to attack the government's poor safety standards and emergency preparation. Rescue operations continued through the night as authorities searched for more bodies. "My two sons ran home, picked some jerry cans and ran to get some petrol. Now I cannot trace them," said one grieving woman.