Victims of the June 3 twin fire and flood disaster are demanding damages of ¢40 million against the Goil filling station, the National Petroleum Authority and others for various acts of negligence.
In a class action, the plaintiffs numbering 69, say the negligence of the defendants, including the former Mayor of Accra, Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije led to the disaster which has left them with horrendous disabilities and disfigurement.
Apart from the over 150 deaths, the surviving victims some of whom suffered severe burns say the permanent physical disabilities left them with several missed opportunities to earn a decent income.
They are therefore asking an Accra High Court to award them the cost of damages in order to mitigate the pain and the suffering they have endured over the last two years.
In the evening of June 3, 2015, disaster struck. What looked like a normal rainy night turned bloody and disastrous after hundreds, trapped by the flood at the Goil Filling Station, were burnt in a blast at the fuel station.
Deaths were recorded in tens but the injuries to victims were innumerable.
A committee set up to investigate the cause of the disaster pointed to leakages in the tanks at the filling which mixed the flood waters.
The committee also found that a lit cigarette smoked by one Seth Kwasi Ofosu caught fire immediately after it was dropped in the flood water mixed with fuel.
“Flooding of Kwame Nkrumah was the remote cause of the fire.”
“The displacement of fuel from the Goil Filling station at Kwame Nkrumah Circle was the intermediate cause.”
“The dropping of the lit cigarette stub by Seth Kwesi Ofosu onto the floating fuel was the ultimate or immediate cause of the fire” the committee report averred.
“We are not in the position to determine his [Ofosu] actual status so we have handed him to the security agencies to investigate and arrive at a conclusion whether or not he intentionally caused arson,” the committee said.
The then president John Mahama announced three days of mourning for the departed souls and gave some monies to families of the deceased persons and others who suffered injuries.
With few days to the second memorial service of the disaster, some surviving victims are demanding justice.
In a suit, the plaintiffs said the Goil Filling Station at Circle was the only place of refuge during the downpour and they were welcomed by officials at the station.
However, they contend that the Goil filling station among many of the cases of negligence “failed to generally put in place a safe system of work leading to supervision lapses which culminated in the safety breaches.”
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and its Mayor at the time have also been cited for negligence for failing to “ensure that the Odaw River and related tributaries were desilted,” which caused the flood.
Meanwhile, Goil has filed its statement of defence denying some of the claims made by the plaintiffs.