Fire in shop kills 35 people in southeastern Benin
COTONOU — At least 35 people were killed in southeastern Benin in West Africa on Saturday after a fire broke out at a shop where witnesses said gasoline was being unloaded, a justice ministry representative said.
The fire broke out in Seme-Podji municipality, near the border with Nigeria.
“The fire burned down the store and according to an initial assessment resulted in 35 deaths including one child,” said Prosecutor Abdoubaki Adam-Bongle in a ministry statement, adding that an investigation had been opened to determine the cause.
“According to the witnesses interviewed, the fire was probably started during the unloading of bags of gasoline.”
More than a dozen others were seriously injured and are being treated in hospital, he said.
A video shared widely on social media, purportedly of the fire, shows a tower of black smoke and flames spewing into the air above what appears to be a marketplace as shocked people watch from a safe distance.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify the video.