A welder who was actively working on a supposedly empty underground gas storage depot at a city gas station narrowly escape death after the said underground fuel-storage tank exploded.
The gas station which had operated under the Shell brand at the corner of Regent and King Streets is currently undergoing renovations, which involves welding among other things.
And while it is fair to assume that the entity’s fuel storage facilities must have been cleansed before the start of its current renovation drive, observers are adamant that it was probably not properly done.
The underground explosion which occurred at around 1:40 pm yesterday sent fire and thick black fumes more than a hundred feet upwards from a fuel manhole; and could have been heard several blocks away from the gas station.
Immediately after the explosion, the alarm systems of several vehicles that were parked in the vicinity went off, while many persons scamper for safety, and business operators took evasive action.
A handful of motorist had also briefly abandoned their vehicles in proximity to the explosion site along King Street.
A few seconds after the explosion, a man covered in black smut was observed screaming and running away from the manhole with his hands covering his face. He was later found at the back of the gas station.
The onsite security guard and another man were subsequently seen running towards the back of the gas station as they tried to ascertain the extent of the man’s injuries.
Even so, observers have expressed public safety concerns since the explosion occurred in a densely commercial area, and could have resulted in several deaths and injuries if the incident had occurred on a much larger scale.
Many have suggested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should revisit the site and do a new public safety assessment in light of yesterday’s occurrence.
Efforts to solicit a comment from Shell or the gas station operators up to press time has proved futile.