Catastrophic fire averted in Vavuniya town
[TamilNet, Friday, 09 January 2004, 03:14 GMT]
A potentially catastrophic fire at the petrol station located at the intersection of Jaffna-Kandy road and Mannar road in Vavuniya town, Thursday night, was prevented by the timely action of alert Police officers, sources said.
A Bowser from the Ceylon Petroleum Coporation’s storage depot in Anuradhapura was delivering petrol to the station when the station’s underground tank filled up and petrol overflowed into the nearby canal, sources said, adding that the Bowser’s driver, his assistants and the station’s employees were unaware of the overflow.
As a result of the petrol flowing into the canal, it caught fire. An alert police officer noticed the fire and informed the Vavuniya Police station’s Officer-In-Charge (OIC), who rushed to the spot with additional police officers and fire vehicles to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to the underground tank, the station or the Bowser.
Sources said that the station employees had assumed the underground tank was empty, and the Bowser could fill it up, but in fact the tank had contained some petrol and hence the overflow.
Mr. Perumal Pathmanathan, acting Vavuniya Police OIC, said that if the underground tank had caught on fire, an area of 3 miles radius would have been engulfed in fire, with devastating consequences.
The petrol station is located in front of the Vavuniya Secretariat. In the vicinity are the General hospital and several Sri Lanka government offices.
Mr. Pathmanathan said that the Police are conducting an inquiry into how the fire arose.