A petrol station in Ghana's capital Accra exploded today, killing an unknown number of people, a government official said.

Footage shows a gigantic fireball lighting up the night sky after the fuelling station at Atomic Junction exploded, forcing hundreds to flee, reports the Daily Mail.

Deputy Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said: "Unfortunately there are some fatalities and we are working to have the numbers. There are quite a number also injured."

The blaze started at 7.30pm at local time on Saturday (9.30am in NZ today) but it now said to be under control with the government planning to release casualty figures later today.

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A police spokeswoman Efia Tenge said the blasts happened at a petrol station in the Atomic Junction roundabout area of Legon in northeast Accra.

She said it was a gas explosion and added: "I am in Legon and I heard two explosions. My whole building was shaking."

A government official said it has left a number of fatalities but it was not known the exact number at this stage, according to local sources.

It is also reported that a number of cars had been burned out as fires spread.

The Accra city authorities warned people to avoid the area, which is also home to the University of Ghana campus.

Hundreds of concerned residents took to social media in the seconds after the blast to find out what had happened.

One man wrote: "There's been a second explosion guys. Something bizarre is going on in Accra. I'm so f***ing scared right now."

Residents fled Ghana's capital city after a petrol station exploded, sending a fireball into the sky.
Residents fled Ghana's capital city after a petrol station exploded, sending a fireball into the sky.

The explosion is a reminder of a tragedy in June 2015 when more than 150 people were killed as they sought shelter from seasonal rains and flooding at a petrol station.

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Leaked fuel floating on top of rising waters had caught fire, burning down buildings and the filling station, trapping people in vehicles as the pumps exploded.

Kobby Boateng, a computer programmer, said he had returned to the university campus with his girlfriend Saturday when the blast happened.

"All of a sudden, we heard a 'boom' and the flash of an explosion, which made the building just shake and the lights went out," he said.

"People were rushing out of their rooms. Some of them were naked and the heat that was coming from that blast, my God, it was unbearable."

An AFP correspondent said the area had been cordoned off. Fire crews and ambulances were at the scene.