The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that any of the suburbs in the twin-city of Sekondi/Takoradi could burst into uncontrollable flames due to activities of taxi drivers, who have converted their cars from petrol based fuel to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

The taxi drivers use domestic gas cylinders to buy gas and then dangerously transfer it, using tubes near the points of sale, taxi ranks and communities in the metropolis.

The Western Regional branch of the Ghana National Fire Service, which expressed similar sentiments about these activities, said they had so far recorded more than 11 vehicular fires due to such LPG transfer this year alone.

One of such taxicab drivers, who sustained severe bums, was rushed to the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital.

That aside, the Fire Service said the proper procedures for the installation of gas cylinders in the vehicles were not followed or the cylinders were fixed by people who were not trained to perform such tasks.

The dangerous spots where the siphoning is done are usually behind gas stations and the various taxi ranks in the metropolis.

According to the taxi drivers, it is time wasting to join the queue to buy LPG at the designated places as, it was better for them to carry cylinders to buy the commodity after which they siphon it into the fixed tanks in their cabs.

The EPA has warned that the activities of these taxi drivers are dangerous because in case of explosion, fire could engulf the gas station and the explosion would not be limited to the area alone but the whole community, since gas travels fast and far.

Furthermore, some people have taken advantage of the high demand by desperate taxi drivers for gas and are into the lucrative business of using domestic cylinders to buy the gas which they re-sell at cut throat prices to cab drivers.

The Western Regional Director of EPA, Irene Heathcote, said reports indicated that siphoning was mostly done in crowded communities.

“Should the gas escape into somebody’s kitchen or get into contact with naked fire, there will be conflagration and a whole community will be affected,” she said.

That aside, the regional director said, innocent passers-by would not be spared by the action of somebody to enrich himself.

She said the development was a threat to life and property and should be checked by all stakeholders.

The Regional Director said even the installation of gas cylinders was not properly done, saying “when the vehicle from the manufacturing stage was made to use gas there is no problem, but where the vehicle owner decides to install the gas by himself without proper certification, the lives of the whole society is put at risk”.

The Regional MTTU Commander, DSP Daniel Dzaka, appealed to the Driver, Vehicle and Licensing Authority, (DVLA) to do critical examination of vehicles to ensure that people with dangerous installations were made to remove them.

Source: Daily Graphic