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At least 7 killed in tanker truck explosion

66b9e1a18b3d8155a72c3982669e6d384a777fdb-700x466From Caribbean News Service

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Mar 18 2016 – At least seven people were killed and about 30 others seriously burned in Haiti when a tanker truck transporting fuel for the Total oil company caught fire and exploded.

The accident took place on Thursday in the town of Hinche, 110 kilometers (65 miles) northeast of the capital Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s Civil Defense office said.

Witnesses said the tanker truck hit a wall and spilled fuel as it was preparing to unload at a Total service station.

The flammable liquid spread and caught fire when it reached vendors cooking food on outdoor grills. The flames quickly returned to the tanker, which set off the explosion.

Seven people died on the spot, and the burn victims were rushed to area hospitals and to Port-au-Prince for treatment, the Civil Defense office said.

“I saw people screaming as they were being burned alive, and no one could come to their aid,” a motorcycle taxi driver said.

Hinche, like many Haitian towns outside of the capital, has no fire department.

“Blue Helmet” soldiers with the United Nations stabilization force rushed to the scene and were able to contain the blaze.

Four homes neighboring the service station also went up in flames, and 22 vehicles were destroyed, local authorities said in a preliminary assessment.

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