A huge flame interrupted the busy shopping strip in Lane Cove, Sydney at 1:20 PM, Monday, May 26, 2014.
Lane Cove residents are doing their usual routines in the busy streets and shops in the plaza when a "whooshing" sound from the gas explosion caused a commotion in the place, breaking a huge fire, damaging properties, and causing fear to diners and onlookers from nearby shops.
The NSW Fire and Rescue team sent six fire trucks to the row of shops at the Longueville Road to damp down the fire that lasted for two hours. More than 150 people from number of shops in the area were evacuated to safety.
The Lane Cove fire, on the other hand, did not leave the place without terrifying damage. A 21-year-old construction worker suffered critical burns, affecting large areas of his body including his arms and legs.
The victim was working on the Lane Cove Plaza renovations when the gas blast happened. A hair salon owner said that he went to the nearby shop owner for first aid medications before treated by the paramedics. Eventually, he was taken to the Royal North Shore Hospital and he was reportedly in stable condition according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The intense fire had been witnessed by several people. Twitter was bombarded by different descriptions and dramatic pictures of the blast from various news sources and residents who captured the event. Meanwhile, the Fire and Rescue NSW gave a bit by bit update of the incident on their Twitter account and even advised people and motorists to stay away from the place through the social networking site.
— Fire & Rescue NSW (@FRNSW) May 26, 2014
The fire left a devastating damage on the Longueville Road. The Central Avenue and Epping Road was blocked off and buses were diverted to for the clearing operations. Supt. Ian Krimmer of the NSW Fire and Rescue assured that fire fighters to contain the gas explosion with the help of gas company workers.
Normal operations of the Lane Cove plaza resumed later the day. It is now safe to walk into the area because it was fenced off. As mentioned by Fire and Rescue NSW team in their Twitter update, the ruptured gas main has been shut-off after the fire had been extinguished. The case is now handed over to the NSW Police.