People Injured in Gas Explosion

Thirteen people were hurt in a gas explosion followed by a fire in the kitchen area of the Mugg & Bean restaurant in Kempton Park’s Festival Mall on the morning of 2 February 2012. The explosion has left the popular store badly damaged, with the ceilings blown out and the kitchen almost gutted.

The injured were rushed to a nearby hospital.

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the blast, but it is suspected that a fault within the gas line or meter led to the explosion, which was reported to the local emergency services at about 8am when it happened.

Seven of those hurt were workers from the Mugg & Bean, who all sustained serious burns to their faces, arms and hands. Three are in a serious condition.

The other six injured were people who were in the mall at the time of the explosion and had run into the restaurant to assist.

The Mugg & Bean was not yet open at the time of the blast, and there were no patrons in the restaurant. But kitchen staff had arrived and were preparing food for breakfast.

While police and emergency services officials were still investigating, Graeme Morrison – a representative of Famous Brands, under which Mugg & Bean falls – believed that the explosion happened as a result of something going wrong with the gas supply.

Morrison said there were no gas cylinders in the store, and that all shops in the centre were supplied with gas from an external source.

“The gas is piped into the stores from a central source in the centre. Therefore either the gas line or the meter must have exploded,” he said.

The explosion started a fire in the kitchen, which was completely burnt. The ceiling in the restaurant area collapsed and Morrison believes that it was the pressure of the explosion that caused this.

Spokesman for Ekhuruleni Emergency Management Services Clement Masinge said even though they received a call alerting them about the fire in the store, it had already been extinguished by the time firefighters arrived on the scene.

It was not known who had managed to put the flames out. All the injured were rushed to the nearby Arwyp Hospital in Kempton Park.

By late morning barricades had been set up around the store to stop people from entering the burnt-out premises.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Tshisikhawe Ndou confirmed that police were assisting with the investigations, but said the cause of the explosion was unknown.

Mugg & Bean’s insurers also visited the scene to assess the damage.

Source: The Star


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