The company responsible for the fuel tanks at the Matautu Wharf has rejected claims that the safety of members of the public was at risk yesterday from the fuel tank and the fuel pipeline that runs through Beach Road. Petroleum Products Supplies Ltd (P.P.S) made the point in a media statement it issued last night in light of yesterday’s fire. The statement is published below in verbatim:
Petroleum Products Supplies Ltd (P.P.S) wishes to advise the public that at around 10am this morning (yesterday), there was an explosion at one of the diesel fuel storage tanks on the wharf at Matautu-tai.
The explosion triggered a fire, which was responded to within minutes by the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A) personnel. Emergency workers immediately evacuated everyone within close proximity to the wharf.
It is with sadness that P.P.S confirms that one of two employees working on the storage tank at the time of the explosion has died as a result of this regrettable incident.
The second employee was treated and discharged within a few hours of the explosion.
Investigations are currently underway to determine the cause of the explosion, but it is important to note that at no time was there any risk to the general public from the tanks or the fuel pipeline.
As a safety precaution, the main fuel terminal at Sogi was shut down immediately. Once the fire was contained and the tank site was deemed safe, the fuel terminal was reopened and normal operations resumed.
The main focus of the Emergency response team was to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to the other two adjacent tanks.
Upon learning of the incident, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, led the coordination of the Disaster Advisory Committee at F.E.S.A headquarters and personally requested assistance from the Australian, New Zealand and United States Governments.
All have assured the Government of their support and are now looking at how they can mobilise technical assistance, capacity-building support for emergency services and work together with the government and private sector to ensure more mitigation efforts are made to avoid a repeat of such an incident.
In terms of ongoing fuel supplies, P.P.S has confirmed that they have enough stock for diesel fuel for the next 10 days, with the next tanker due on April 9th. Supplies of petrol and jet fuel were not affected by the fire.
F.E.S.A has confirmed that the site where the tanks are located has now been declared safe and secure, but access by the public is restricted due to ongoing investigations and clean-up efforts.