The City of Johannesburg confirmed on Friday that this week’s massive explosion in downtown Johannesburg was indeed caused by gas.
“It was just a gas explosion. Gas was leaking. However, we are still trying to determine the source of the gas,” said Johan la Grange, civil engineer and consultant for the Johannesburg metro, during a media conference this afternoon.
La Grange also made it clear that illegal miners (zama zamas) had no involvement in the explosion.
Floyd Brink, city manager of the Johannesburg metro, says the structural integrity of all the buildings in the vicinity of the explosion has been checked and it has been determined that no building was damaged during the explosion.
An assessment of infrastructure in Lilian Ngoyi Street (Bree Street) and Loveday Street did reveal that the tunnel “could collapse at any given time”.
Brink says that this tunnel is “deformed and unstable” as a result of movement from crossing the road specifically in the direction of the CJ Cronje building.
The area has since been cordoned off.
RNews reported earlier that a man’s body was found under a car in Breestraat after the explosion. There is also talk of a missing child.
However, Brink could not confirm this afternoon whether there were victims trapped underground as it is not safe to send any rescue workers underground at this stage. Brink was able to confirm that there was no sign of life in the rubbish.
Heavy machinery cannot be used at this stage due to safety concerns and all rubbish will have to be removed by hand.