Fatal mall explosion: Full report to be released upon completion, says DCM

From second left: Uggah and Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian visiting the site of the blast.

By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, Dec 5: The full report of the explosion at CityOne Megamall which killed three persons and injured 26 others yesterday will be released immediately upon completion of the investigation.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) is carrying out a thorough investigation of the tragedy and assured that the report will be transparent.

“Bomba has provided their initial report of the incident but a thorough report will be given once it is confirmed that there are no more victims are still trapped.

“The department is looking at what caused the explosion, while continuing to search for other victims. It is important for us to be thorough, as we are saving lives,” he told reporters at the site of the explosion on Tuesday night.

The search and rescue mission continued throughout Tuesday night (Dec 4, 2018) for trapped victims.

Uggah, who is also the state Disaster Management Committee chairman lauded the quick action by Bomba, Civil Defence Force and other agencies in carrying out the search and rescue mission, attending to the victims and controlling the situation.

He acknowledged that such a situation can be stressful and cause panic.

Bomba has also deployed a cadaver dog from its K9 unit to help with the search and rescue operations to sniff out other possible victims.

“The state government would like to express its condolences to the family of the three victims who died, as well as 26 others injured from the explosion.

“This incident, which happened right in the middle of Kuching, is a such an unfortunate and sad episode for the city. This is definitely an accident, we are currently going through all the procedures to investigate the matter,” Uggah continued.

When asked how long the mall will be closed, the deputy chief minister said it might not be closed entirely, with only the affected section cordoned off to the public.

“We hope this incident can be a lesson and guidance for us so that it could be avoided in the future,” he continued.

The site of the restaurant following the explosion that occurred around 3.30pm, Tuesday (Dec 4, 2018).

State Bomba director Khirudin Drahman confirmed that three men were killed at explosion that rocked the mall this afternoon. It is understood that the ceiling of a restaurant collapsed on the victims following a gas tank explosion.

Two of those killed were Sarawakians and one Penangite, while four other individuals suffered serious injuries, he added.

Initial investigations revealed that a gas tank used for welding works at the premise, which is currently under renovations, had exploded.

Meanwhile, Kuching district police chief ACP Ng Ah Lek was reported as saying that no criminal elements were involved in the tragedy. Initial investigation revealed that the gas tank exploded following a gas leak that was ignited by sparks from the welding works. The case has been classified as a workplace accident. — DayakDaily