At least 35 people have been killed in a fire at a commercial building south of Benin’s capital, authorities said, as they launched an investigation.
The damaged and burnt remains of a building in Seme-Podji, 6 miles south of the capital Porto-Novo, and the charred remains of cars and motorbikes were all that could be seen in the aftermath of the fire in footage from Benin’s public broadcaster.
A fire official told ORTB television that the accident happened at a site known for storing and handling gasoline. Bystanders rescued three people before firefighters arrived, the official, Dalis Ahuangbeyon, added.
The fire broke out on Saturday morning and “probably started during the unloading of bags of gasoline,” Benin prosecutor Adam-Bong Abdoubaki said in a statement published in local newspaper benin-news.com.
EXPLOSION AT HOUSE IN NEW JERSEY LEAVES 5 VICTIMS IN HOSPITAL
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The dead included a child, while more than a dozen people were injured, he said.
Abdoubaki added that a crisis unit was set up to inform the families of the victims, collect information to determine the cause of the fire and determine criminal responsibility.
“I am disappointed,” local prefecture spokeswoman Marie Akpotrosou told the public broadcaster. He blamed the deaths of so many people on the sale of bootleg petrol and said it was time to take another look at the illegal trade.