In a desperate bid to contain the massive blaze that tore through the coastal town of Banyas, Senegal’s National Emergency Service has called for a mandatory chlorine test.
As the firefighting operations were ramping up in Banyays area, officials warned residents to be prepared for the worst.
As a precaution, authorities ordered residents to wear full-face masks, carry water containers for drinking and cooking, and take showers before heading out into the village.
“The situation has become so critical, we have to make a decision to deploy chlorine in the city, which is the most vulnerable to the disease and we can’t let the population get exposed,” N.E.D. spokesman, David Boule, told The Associated Press.
In a video posted on the department’s Facebook page, N.O.N. president, Abdeljawad Mabrouh, says the government wants to make sure the community is well prepared for any future emergency.
“We’re looking at how we can improve our response to a fire like this and what we can do to make people safer,” he said.
The firefighting operation was ramping to the highest levels as residents tried to get away from the burning building.
In the video, firefighters can be seen spraying water and dust into the building.
It is unclear if anyone has been killed in the blaze.
The evacuation order comes as a massive blaze ripped through the village, which has been struggling to recover from the devastating impact of Hurricane Agnes in 2017.
Najah Salloum, a resident of the Banyaya village, told AP on Tuesday that he saw smoke billowing out of the building, but was not able to verify the fire was from a chlorine leak.
Residents were evacuated after the fire broke out on Monday and a new evacuation order was issued for the entire village.
The government is also seeking public donations for the evacuation of the village and the surrounding area.
The government has also asked people to help spread the word through social media.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.