At least 33 killed in petrol warehouse fire in Benin

By Sun YiTian Yun

COTONOU, Benin, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- At least 33 people were killed and three others seriously injured in a fire at a smuggled petrol warehouse on Saturday in Seme Krake, a town on the border with Nigeria, in Benin's southeastern department of Oueme, local authorities said.

Dallys Ahouangbegnon, chief of the local fire brigade, said the fire, which broke out in a warehouse close to the Seme Krake pineapple market, also ignited houses and vehicles parked near the site.

In Benin, smuggled petrol comes from its eastern neighbor, Nigeria, a major oil producer where the price of fuel is cheaper.

Thousands of liters of petrol sold on the streets of Benin's towns and neighborhoods generally come from stations located along the Benin-Nigeria border.

The trade, which generates huge profits, also entails major risks, given the precarious conditions in which the product is stored. As a result, fires occur frequently with heavy tolls.

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