Muscat: Eight people were injured when leak in a centralised piped gas supply caused a massive explosion at an upscale residential complex in Baushar suburb of Muscat Saturday morning. One of the injured, Vivek Bhatnagar, senior Assistant general Manager Human Resources with Bahwan Engineering Company, was admitted to the burns unit of Khoula Hospital with 30 per cent burns. The other seven injured with moderate to serious injuries were also admitted to the same hospital.
“At around 9am we heard a loud bang,” a resident of Muscat Oasis, where the explosion took place, told Gulf News on the condition of not being named. According to him walls of the first floor as well as the second floor were ripped apart. “I believe one of the columns was also damaged in the explosion,” he said, adding that the explosion was very loud and shook nearby building also.
Muscat Oasis is one of the most luxurious residential apartment compounds in Muscat. “It seems that one of the apartment blocks was locked and neighbours complained about gas smell,” added the resident, who has lived in the compound for more than five years.
According to him the leaked gas exploded as soon as three staff members of Muscat Oasis opened the door of the locked flat in the morning after complaints from neighbours. The explosion also badly damaged the compound’s sewage. The walls caved in on two floors and several vehicles were badly damaged. A spokesperson for the Royal Oman Police (ROP) told Gulf News that the explosion was severe and it was a miracle that there were no fatalities. Four of the Muscat Oasis staff members were among those injured and were rushed to the hospital by the ROP’s Civil Defence teams. A resident pointed out that in his last six-year stay at the compound he had not come across any checks on the centralised gas connections at his apartment. According to another resident of the apartments, most of the flats were vacant due to summer vacation in schools as residents are away on holidays. “Otherwise the injuries could have been more,” he added.
The police with sniffer dogs rushed to the spot to thoroughly check the damaged parts of the building that looked like ruins.
“We urge all citizens and residents to carry out maintenance of gas facilities and take extreme care while dealing with the gas supply or storage facilities,” the ROP spokesperson said.