Gas leak likely cause of Kuching mall blast

The explosion occurred at about 3.30pm on Dec 4, at the NeNe Chicken outlet on the ground floor which was being renovated for its opening the next day.
The explosion occurred at about 3.30pm on Dec 4, at the NeNe Chicken outlet on the ground floor which was being renovated for its opening the next day.PHOTO: AFP

KUCHING • Malaysian police have ruled out terrorism or criminal acts in the explosion at Cityone Megamall in Kuching, Sarawak, which left three people dead and 41 others injured.

Sarawak deputy commissioner of police Mohd Dzuraidi Ibrahim said investigations so far found no militant elements.

"There are also no criminal elements involved. We have classified the case as sudden death," he told reporters at the scene of the blast on Wednesday.

He said the Fire and Rescue Department was still investigating the cause of the explosion.

The department's state director Khirudin Drahman said: "We have taken gas samples from the scene to be analysed in our lab. From the pattern of the explosion that we saw on CCTV footage as well as the victims' injuries, it seems to confirm our initial findings and hypothesis (that the blast was caused by a gas leak)".

The explosion occurred on Tuesday afternoon at a food outlet which was being renovated for its opening the next day.

Mr Stephen Long, director of Cityone developer Kenbest, conveyed his condolences to the families of the deceased. He said: "Our workers were doing the final touch-up and getting everything ready for the opening, but one explosion changed the whole scenario. What I can do now is to take care of the welfare of our colleagues and staff in hospital."

 

His son-in-law Johnny Lau, who was in the kitchen at the time, suffered burns on 20 per cent of his body and was warded at the Sarawak General Hospital.

Mr Long's wife Sim Ewe Kee was slightly hurt by a falling steel structure and was discharged from hospital on Tuesday.

The mall remains closed until clearance is given by the authorities.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2018, with the headline 'Gas leak likely cause of Kuching mall blast'. Print Edition | Subscribe