Three possible causes of Joburg explosion identified

todayJuly 21, 2023 93

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The City of Joburg says its engineers have pinned down three possible causes of the deadly blast that claimed one life on Wednesday.

At least 48 other people were injured in the explosion which saw vehicles, mostly taxis, flip over in split seconds.

The devastating incident has resulted in Lilian Ngoyi Street formerly known as Bree Street closing.

Joburg’s City Manager, Floyd Brink, announced the three possible causes at a media briefing on Thursday evening.

“These are the ignition of Methane Gas in underground storm water systems due to sewerage ingress, the ignition of natural gas, mixed with air, in this case, oxygen in underground storm water drainage systems or service ducts, and the third and last possibility, the ignition of gas from a gas pipe burst.”

Brink says at this stage the only potential cause appears to be warranted, accidental leakage of natural gas into the service duct reaching explosion concentration levels of 05-15%.

He says the accidental leakage was ignited by a source unknown at this stage.

While thorough investigation into the explosion continues, there is no need for residents to evacuate buildings.

“Those areas are structurally sound and are safe. At this stage, there is no need to evacuate the buildings in the area and as stated, Joburg Water will provide mobile water and sanitation services to residents in the area,” explains Brink.

The city manager says they’ve been assured by the Environmental Services and Air Quality Controllers of the city that the gas leaking into the atmosphere poses no risk to residents.

This was after residents complained of the gas stench that continued to linger around the CBD.

City officials say the site remains vulnerable and a timeline for repairing the torn road cannot be announced at this stage.

Bree Street remains closed at this stage, but the taxi rank further down the road is operating as normal.

The Gauteng province has been rocked by several explosions this week.

One person died in Braamfischerville, Soweto, on Thursday afternoon in an explosion that’s suspected to have been due to a dynamite that was connected to a vehicle battery. Two other people were injured in the incident.

Authorities say this could be linked to illegal mining activity in the area.

Another gas cylinder explosion happened in Kempton Park on Friday.

It is reported that a 48kg gas cylinder containing ammonia exploded at a warehouse in Chloorkop, injuring one person.

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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