Police officers on Sunday sealed off parts of Kapsoit trading centre in Kericho West District after a petrol tanker overturned and spilled petrol.
The spill, which occurred at dawn, attracted a huge crowd with several people armed with jerry cans ready to scoop the fuel.
The security personnel from Kapsoit and Sosiot police stations forcefully evacuated residents from the trading centre to avert a disaster.
Residents had rushed to the accident scene, a few metres from a petrol station, to siphon fuel that had been spilling from the tanker since 2 am.
Parked tankers removed
Kericho West DC Jamleck Mbuba said the security officers also evacuated more than 20 other petrol tankers parked at the petrol station.
“The police arrived at the scene of the accident on time and secured the area.
“They evacuated people from their houses and petrol tankers to avert a disaster in case of an explosion from the tanker,” he added.
Vehicles plying the Kericho-Kisumu route were diverted to use alternative roads.
The accident caused a huge traffic snarl up on the Kericho-Kisumu highway.
Fire fighters from Kericho Municipal Council later arrived and poured foam on the spilt oil.
The tanker was transporting more than 40,000 litres of petrol to Kisumu.
Police are looking for the driver of the tanker who, they said, fled the scene.