The Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) has cautioned residents of Malanga in Gem, Siaya County who siphoned fuel from a tanker that they are at risk.
On Tuesday, two more people succumbed to injuries after the tanker overturned and caught fire on Saturday, raising the death toll to 17.
The Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) is now calling on residents to hand over the siphoned fuel.
In a statement, the agency warned that improperly stored fuel poses a risk as it could cause another flash fire or explosion and lead to more fatalities and injuries.
“We wish to implore on residents of the affected areas who, we understand from media reports, went to scoop the fuel that had spilled over from the tanker, to please desist from storing the fuel in their houses and instead to please hand it over to the security personnel so as to prevent the occurrence of other fires in the area,” said PIEA.
PIEA explained that fuel should be stored in “carefully designed petroleum fuel receptacles” and not in jerrycans as vapours around non-compliant fuel containers could ignite and explode at the slightest spark.
“Inhaling petroleum fuels is equally harmful and has long term adverse health effects and therefore the public must stay well away from the accident area as high concentrations of vapour reduces oxygen available for breathing which means suffocation may also occur,” the Institute cautioned.
Further, PIEA urged the public to desist from buying fuel from undesignated areas and unlicensed dealers.
“It is dangerous to sell, buy or use scooped petroleum fuel because you may use motor spirit (petrol) in a cooking or lighting stove thinking that is kerosene and an explosion will occur causing untold suffering. It is not worth the money, saving or your life,” stated PIEA.