A fire broke out in a commercial building near Benin's capital of Porto-Novo, claiming the lives of at least 35 people, according to the African country's authorities.
As per images shared by the state broadcaster and social media, the building was almost completely gutted, while nearby cars and motorbikes were also charred as a result of the fire that broke out on Saturday.
According to a fire official, the site is known for the storage and handling of gasoline. Three people were rescued by passersby before the firefighters managed to arrive at the site. The fire probably started during the "unloading of bags of gasoline", said Beninese prosecutor Adam-Bongle Abdoubaki in a statement.
Over a dozen people were injured in the fire, while the flames claimed the life of a child. A crisis unit has been set up to inform the kin of the victims and collect information to know the cause of the fire.
“I am dismayed,” local prefecture representative Marie Akpotrossou told the public broadcaster, while blaming the incident on the sale of contraband gasoline. She said that the illegal trade should be closely monitored.
(with AP inputs)