By Muhammed Lamin Drammeh
A gas explosion in Brikama on Saturday destroyed five shops and a new car. The shop owners also reported that over D77,000 went missing during efforts to put out the fire.
The burnt houses were located just around the Guaranty Trust Bank and Petro Gas station
The explosion began at about 3MP when shop owners left for lunch.
Salifu Barrow, a salesman in one of the affected shops, said when he arrived from lunch to open his shop he felt heat on the door and rushed to call his boss Modou Cham, who switched off the electricity but that did not stop the fire from getting inside the shop.
Witnesses said loud explosions were heard as the fire raged through shops causing panic and fear. A Renault 307 car parked in front of one of the shops got burnt with the shops. The owner, one Salim Sillah said the vehicle was only a day old in his possession. The explosion of gas sent people in nearby compounds running from their houses in panic.
It took the fire and rescue services over one hour to put out the inferno. No casualties have been reported but a hug damage had been reported by affected businessmen.
A tearful Nfansu Barrow, whose shop was the most affected, could not even speak to the press. He sold gas, kerosene, petrol and motor spare parts most of which perished in the fire.
Modou Cham, whose assistant first detected smoke from his shop said he noticed that some D77, 000 was missing from his shop and believed this happened when people came to help put out the fire.
“I placed over D77, 000 here but I found only a D200 note”, he told reporters.
Cham, a father of five, said the shop is his only source of living.