A Massive Fuel Depot Explosion Rocks Guinea’s Capital, Causing Casualties And Damage

(AP) — An explosion and inferno at Guinea’s main fuel depot in the capital of Conakry left several people dead or injured, authorities and local media reported Monday, as emergency services battled to put out the fire.

The fire broke out at the Guinean Petroleum Company depot shortly after a massive explosion past midnight Sunday, Guinea’s presidency said in a statement. The area in the heart of the Kaloum administrative district is home to most government offices.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire at the depot that supplies most of the fuel in Guinea, raising fears of a major supply disruption.

Officials have not confirmed any casualty figures though local media reported dozens of people were hurt, most of them hospitalised with serious injuries. At least four dead were confirmed at the Ignace Deen hospital, Conakry-based Le Courrier de Conakry news platform reported.

Communications Minister Aminata Kaba said that damage was significant.

The fire razed several offices and buildings within the area that was covered with thick smoke. Many residents fled their homes.

“I was sleeping when I heard a whistle, then a deafening explosion,” said Mounatou Baldé, who lives in Kaloum.

Authorities shut down schools and public places in the capital as emergency services raced to put out the fire, which caused a major blockade in the area. Access to the district was shut except for essentials services. The presidency asked people to stay at home.