A fuel tanker exploded on Friday following a collision in the capital of Sierra Leone, causing numerous casualties, the mayor and media said, but exact figures were not known.
Several badly-burned victims lay on the streets of Freetown as fire blazed through shops and houses nearby, social media images showed, although Reuters was not immediately able to independently verify the clips.
“The video and photo footage making rounds on social media are harrowing,” said Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, mayor of the port city. “There are rumors that more than 100 people have lost their lives.”
The blast after the collision with a truck claimed victims among those who had flocked to collect fuel leaking from the ruptured vehicle, she added in a posting on Facebook.
The extent of damage to property was as yet unknown, the mayor said, adding that police and her deputy were at the scene to assist disaster management officials.
“It is a terrible, terrible accident,” Brima Bureh Sesay, the chief of the National Disaster Management Agency, told a magazine.