GAS MAIN EXPLOSION: ‘Huge’ fire reported in Whitstable

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Whitstable, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via KEELY LOCKHART, PA & The Telegraph

There have been reports of a large explosion and fire in Whitstable, Kent, in the south of England, leaving two men injured, according to national newspaper The Telegraph.

The explosion, believed to be centred around a subterranean gas main (gas pipe) at the Estuary View Business Park, an industrial site, occurred at 10:00 pm yesterday night, The Telegraph reports.

One of the victims, a gas engineer who was repairing the main at the time, suffered burns to his legs and face and was rushed to William Harvey Hospital in nearby Ashford, also in Kent county, by emergency services who arrived at the scene. A second man, possibly a fellow engineer or passer-by, sustained minor injuries.

The injured engineer, employed by the gas distribution firm SGN, had been called out to fix an issue with the medium-pressure main believed tampered with by an unknown ‘third party’, when the gas ignited. It is not known what exactly set off the explosion. The second casualty was treated at the scene. Neither are in serious danger.

 

File image (c) robert wade

Images posted by local man Chris Rowden on Twitter showed large orange flames rising from the ground ferociously, with ambulance teams from the South East Coast Ambulance Service and fire engines in attendance. Another witness, who lives a mile away from the scene, reported seeing the sky ‘lit up’ at the time of the incident.

Kent Fire and Rescue, which manages emergency services in the county, told the Telegraph that SGN was able to cut off the gas supply to the main and extinguish the fire at around 3 am this morning. A spokesperson told the paper “It is not known what caused the explosion at this stage.”

To minimise the risk of secondary gas leaks or explosions to Whitstable residents, SGN ordered the ceasing of gas supply to 430 homes in the Old Thanet Way residential area, and Kent police has set up roadblocks near the business park the gas explosion occurred in.

In a statement, SGN said: “It is too early to know what caused the fire last night but an investigation is under way.

“We would like to reassure the local community that we are continuing to closely monitor the situation to ensure their safety.”

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Mauritius Now, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/mauritiusnow
“Huge fire erupts after gas main explodes in Whitstable, Kent” – Keely Lockhart & Press Association, The Telegraph – News/Telegraph Media Group Limited (28 May 2016) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/28/huge-fire-erupts-after-gas-main-explodes-in-whitstable-kent/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Flames Following the Gas explosion at Townsendfold, Rossendale, Lancashire” – robert wade, Flickr (31 July 2007) https://www.flickr.com/photos/rossendalewadey/3131234197

 

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