Days after suffering burns from an explosion along the Linden-Lethem trail, fuel truck driver Shawlin Shaw Ally succumbed at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) last Friday.
Ally, a driver/mechanic of Plot H22 Left Bank Tabatinga Drive, Lethem, suffered burns about his body after the explosion occurred while he was discharging fuel into a barrel on July 1st. He was rushed to two nearby health centres for medical attention before being taken at the Linden Hospital Complex. He received medical attention and was later transferred to the GPH, where he was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit at the time of his death.
Police said Ally was nursing third degree burns about his body at the time of his death.
Ally and several others were on a trail at Frenchman Hill, discharging fuel into another fuel truck, since the truck he was driving had toppled on the road.
Ally’s employer, Marlon Johnson, proprietor of the Takutu Gas Station and Takutu Hotel, was informed of the accident and he ventured to the area and they began pumping the fuel into the other truck Johnson brought with him.
Johnson told this newspaper that Ally was pumping gas into a small tanker and during the process the fuel pump, which was powered by a generator, malfunctioned.
“The pump was sucking the gas then stop because of the air… so, we decided to lead the hose to a barrel and continue pumping the gas until it was flowing,” Johnson said, explaining that before Ally could have fed the hose into the barrel, gas spilled on him and the generator. As a result, he said Ally used his hands to lock off the hose. “All we hear was voop! And he was on fire running up the road. The porter that was on the truck quickly jumped from the top of the truck and chopped the hose or there might have been a big explosion,” he recalled.
Johnson further explained that they all ran behind Ally and tried to extinguish the flames but to no avail.
“We took our shirt and keep lashing him, lashing him, he even tried rolling but the fire stay on because it was gasoline. One of the worker took water and throw it on him and that is when the fire out. But then he started to scream because his skin was burning,” the proprietor said.
He added that after they extinguished the flames, Ally began to remove his clothing but that only made the situation worse as his skin began to “peel off as he took off his shirt.”
“We were not far from Mabura, so we rushed him there because they were supposed to have an ambulance but when we get there, they said it was at 47 Health Centre, so the workers went there. When they got there the ambulance wasn’t there and my nephew deicide to drive and rush him to the Linden Hospital for medical attention,” he lamented.
Throughout the journey, he recalled, Ally cried out due to his injuries.
Police said Ally told investigators that while discharging the fuel he saw a spark and the fuel burst into flames, causing him to suffer burns.
Johnson explained that after receiving treatment for the burns at the Linden Hospital, Ally was transferred to GPH the same night.
Two other workers also suffered minor burns due to the explosion and they were treated and discharged.
Relating the events prior to the explosion, Johnson said Ally and others diverted from their usual path in a bid to avoid the broken bridge at Mile 33, between Mabura and Kurupukari, along the Linden-Lethem trail.
The bridge had collapsed when an overloaded truck attempted to cross in mid-June. The bridge has since been repaired.
“It was two trucks coming in with fuel. A small tanker and a large one. Ally was driving the large one and that one toppled on its side. After we discharged the fuel from that tanker, we turned it over and the damage was small,” Johnson related, while adding that he was planning to send the truck for repairs.
“But, Ally said since the damage is small we should discharge the fuel from the small tanker into the truck he was driving because the small fuel truck couldn’t have make it through the trail. We were almost complete with discharging the fuel when the pump malfunctioned,” he related.
Johnson refuted claims of foul play suggested by some of Ally’s relatives. “I see the family saying that foul play was involved but as I told the police there was other eyewitnesses. I have known Ally for years and his family in Georgetown. We have a good relationship but someone is trying to be mischievous. He [Ally] worked with me for years and he is my number one welder and fabricator…,” he stated.
Johnson stressed that he is prepared to help the Ally’s family in any way he can.
Efforts to contact Ally’s family were unsuccessful.