Two men succumbs to Woodstock explosion; Prelim report reveals cause of explosion was due to gas leak
Two people have succumbed to their injuries following a fire and series of explosions that occurred in Woodstock on Thursday. Ward councillor, Angus McKenzie, confirmed the news, saying the owner along with the co-worker passed away at Groote Schuur Hospital on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town revealed that the Woodstock explosion that occurred on Thursday evening was due to a gas leak. In a statement, the City said preliminary investigations indicate that the fire was caused by a gas leakage, after 2x 48kg gas bottles were found inside the premises.
According to the City's by-law, this is in contravention as it only allows for 19kg’s of canisters, and if installed and used correctly and operated under a valid Certificate of Compliance.
“It is believed that due to the increased pressure of the larger canisters, a leak could have developed and since gas is heavier than air, it is believed that the gas created a “blanket” that crept along the floor until the shop had become completely saturated, including soaking the clothes of the 2 victims unbeknown to them, as they were standing behind a counter close to the entrance of the shop,” he added.
The City’s Fire & Rescue Safety division speculated that ignitions would have come from any of the induction motors used to drive the refrigeration equipment, which would have then ignited the pocket of gas that had filled the premises.
“With the sudden expansion of mass resulting, the windows and shop front exploded out to the street, followed by debris from inside the shop.”
“Due to the coincidental design of the shop front where aluminum and glass was fixed between the structural pillars, it caused the softer material to be forced outwards allowing the pressure to easily escape, while leaving the structural pillars and formwork of the building undamaged,” added Smith.
Furthermore, it was revealed that the neighbouring take-aways shop was not affected by the fire and has suffered only smoke damage, with slight damage to a dividing wall, but no structural damage evident.
“While the scene has been handed over to SAPS for further investigation, the City of Cape Town's Fire Safety division does undertake compliance inspections where complaints are received from the public. To date, no complaints were received for fire safety related aspects for the premises in question,” said mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith.
Smith appealed to property owners to comply with the law.
“ The importance of fire safety remains an important aspect for all property owners to consider, and likewise the tenants that operate such properties. Safety requirements as stipulated within the SANS10087 manual, as well as the City of Cape Town Community Fire Safety by-law applies to all.”
“Fire safety is everyone's responsibility. If you should suspect any person or establishment operating in a manner that can jeopardize their own safety or that of another, you are encouraged to please report the matter to the City of Cape Town's Public Emergency Call Centre on 021-480 7700, he added.
Done By: Mitchum George