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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Empire Gallery explosion: Gas leak confirmed as source

September 29, 2011

A view of Empire Gallery's facade after the explosion September 28 2011. — Picture by Choo Choy May
SUBANG JAYA, Sept 29 — A gas leak from a restaurant has been confirmed as the source for the EmpireShopping Gallery explosion yesterday, said the minister in charge.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung told The Star that the Fire and Rescue Department has informed him of this development.

Their forensics team is still on site and a preliminary report will be ready soon, he said after visiting the blast site at 4.30pm today.

Earlier in Putrajaya, Chor said a preliminary report would be out tomorrow.

The shopping centre is temporarily shut until further notification.

The explosion yesterday morning at 3.45am was suspected from a leaking gas pipe in one of the basement premises.

The minister has directed the department to study overall safety before issuing certificate of fitness (CF) for occupation.

The incident yesterday was a shock to most citizens of the Klang Valley, as the explosion in the wee hours was heard as far as Bangsar.

Nearly the entire stretch of the front portion of the newly-built mall was blown out, damaging a number of cafes, restaurants and clothing stores including Tangs and Starbucks Coffee.

Four persons had minor injur

A view of the first floor of the mall from the second flooar parking entrance. — Picture by Choo Choy May
ies, but the injury count would have been much higher and more serious if the explosion occurred during business hours. The one year old mall has steady customer traffic.

There was traffic jams at areas around and near the mall, as rescue work went on through the morning.

The mall management stated that the damage was extensive, with five floors affected byt the explosion. However they asserted that the building’s structure was intact.

Some 170 hotel guests and 10 SOHO tenants had to be evacuated from Empire Tower and Soho.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim visited the site later yesterday, while the Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh had been at the site a short while after the explosion and remained there through the rescue work there.

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