The Rwanda National Police (RNP) Fire and Rescue Brigade successfully extinguished a petrol trailer, which caught fire on Monday, May 3 as it approached Gisenyi town in Rubavu District.
The tanker was transporting 33 tonnes of gasoline to DR Congo when it caught fire at about 5pm in Nyarurembo Village, Rugerero Cell in Rugerero Sector of Rubavu District.
The Commandant of Fire and Rescue Brigade, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Jean Baptiste Seminega said the fire started in the rear tyres.
"The driver, one Mohamed Sheikh Mahamud, 39, a Somali national, drove from Rusumo border post to Rubavu without making any stop-over; this could have led the hot tyres to produce fire in the four rear tyres," said ACP Seminega.
He added: "Luckily enough, residents were quick to call our Fire and Rescue unit in Rubavu, they immediately intervened and successfully put out the fire before spreading to other parts of the tanker, which could have been disastrous.
You can imagine the extent of disaster 33 tonnes of gasoline can cause especially that it was near communities; many lives could have been lost and property distroyed."
He lauded the responsiveness of the residents for calling the Police firefighters in real time to prevent such disaster from happening.
"It is likely that the driver being a foreigner, he probably did not know what to do or who call during such emergency circumstances, but residents were there to help, which is commendable," said ACP Seminega.
The driver, Mohamed Sheik Mahamud thanked the residents, who helped him to call in the firefighters in real time.
Mohamed also thanked the Police for the quick intervention to prevent the disaster.
The driver continued his journey to DR Congo shortly after the fire was extinguished.
The incident occured in the same area where another 41, 500 cubic meter benzene tanker caught fire in March. The benzene tanker was also successfully extinguished.
The Commandant advised long distance drivers to always make stopover to rest but also for trucks to cool down to avoid related disasters.
He further urged drivers to know the emergency contacts and call for intervention in such emergency circumstances.
Fire and rescue emergency contacts
Toll free lines: 111 and 112
0788311224: Northern region 0788311024: Western region 0788311023: Southern region 0788311449: Eastern region