Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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Weekend gas blast closes school in Myawaddy


Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A school destroyed by fire late on Sunday night yesterday after the explosion of gas cylinders on a truck in Myawaddy, in eastern Karen State, remained closed yesterday for renovations.

Five people were injured by the ensuing flames that started after the tanks exploded during transport from a warehouse owned by Win Naing, a resident said. It took three fire engines to bring the fire under control.

The Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA), quoting a witness, reported that one of the tanks had sustained damage and began to leak after it was loaded into the transport truck. The tank was left on board and the driver drove off with his dangerous cargo until the leak caught fire between the border town’s fourth and fifth wards, setting off a massive explosion that was visible from across the Thai border in Mae Sot.

“It was like bomb had exploded very loudly, the first time just one gas [tank] exploded and then all of them burned, [but] nobody was injured [in the actual blast],” he said.

The fire gutted the vehicle, three homes and School No. 1 on the west side of the landmark Shweminwun Pagodaon the outskirts of Myawaddy, according to Mizzima witnesses and an IMNA report.

“The school was closed this morning. Some glass … was broken and some doors showed signs of fire damage,” a parent of one of the pupils told Mizzima.

The cylinders were imported from Thailand for distribution in Rangoon Division and Moulmein in Mon State.

A joint police, army and fire department taskforce examined the cars to see if they had carried the cylinders on Asia Street and past an old bus station, a source said. 

“It was like bomb had exploded very loudly, the first time just one gas [tank] exploded and  then all of them burned, but nobody was injured [in the blast itself],” the IMNA quoted a witness as saying.

The driver had escaped apparently unscathed, the witness said, adding that the firemen were injured because the brigade had underestimated the size of the inferno.

A source in Mae Sot, across the Moei River in Thailand, told IMNA that the town’s residents could see the flames. He had first attributed the sight to a bomb blast, after a bombing at a night market in Myawaddy early this month killed two people.

According to IMNA sources in Myawaddy, the owner of the warehouse that supplied the gas tank had been jailed for a year over another gas blast in Myawaddy.

The Mon news agency, quoting sources close to the owner, reported that the owner and the driver had fled to Mae Sot, the former to avoid a second arrest.


 

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