GIZA: The village of Temoua was rocked early Saturday morning when a truck loaded with gas tanks belonging to the Misr Petroleum Company unexpectedly exploded.
The blast occurred, according to local witnesses, after one of the small tanks, intended for residential use in the poor southern Giza neighborhood, ignited and set off the hundreds of other tanks on the truck.
Other sources added that the truck, carrying license plate number 16285, which was driven by Goma Hussein, was on its way to a storage facility located near Temoua.
Some 11 fire-engines rushed to the scene of the accident and managed to contain the resulting fire. General Mohamed Yassin, deputy Giza governor, was quoted in the press as saying that the fire that broke out behind Temoua’s healthcare unit had not resulted in any fatalities or losses.
Local witnesses and police in Temoua also said no one was reported injured or hospitalized by the blasts.
“People were asleep, said Mahmoud Ahmed Mohammed El Asi, 17, “and then one gas tank exploded and took all the tanks surrounding them. At least 300 exploded. El Asi said he hoped the Minister of Petroleum would “clean up the mess outside his backyard.
Qasim Abdul Majid, an African American from Queens, NY living in Temoua with his wife Eva, said he was awoken at 1:30 am by the sound of an explosion. “I looked out my window and saw a puff of smoke, and then heard another explosion, he said “and then a third one.
The charred remains of the truck and ruined gas tanks littered a muddy lot down a back alley in Temoua on Saturday afternoon. Black blast marks were visible on a wall near the exploded truck, surrounded by puddles of water and rubble.
Two other trucks similarly loaded with gas tanks were parked at the other end of the lot, approximately 20 m from the blast site. Local witnesses said the trucks were moved on Saturday morning, following the explosion.
About a dozen state security and police trucks lined the main road of Temoua St., a few blocks away.
The government security forces said they arrived soon after the gas tanks exploded, although Mohammad Mahmoud, 29, an engineer and resident of Temoua, told the The Daily Star Egypt that they did not arrive until 11 in the morning.
An exact time frame of events following the blasts was confounded by conflicting local accounts.
Three police officers on Temoua St. were vague about the time of the blasts and one told the The Daily Star Egypt that the tanks exploded “at 3, no 2, no 1:30.
“The government came in the morning and left after an inspection, one officer said, who refused to release his name for publication.
The officers said they did not know when the rubble would be cleared from the neighborhood. The area of the explosion appeared to be a partial construction site – a half-built cement structure with steps leading to an un-built second-floor stood adjacent to the blast site.
On Saturday afternoon, the lot was full of young children playing in the rubble, picking up pieces of gas tanks and even the remains of the truck’s muffler.
“I was at home, and I heard the tanks explode, said Alaa Shahin Araby, 16.
“It was a really bad sight. They ruined our driveways and it’s going to take a long time to clean up.
But the gas canister explosions in Temoua are not the first of their kind. Just a day before, on Friday, the residents of the village of Samanud were awakened by a series of similar explosions.
At 3.30 in the morning they were shocked to have seen gas cylinders flying in the air and falling on neighboring houses. Sahar Mohamed, 35, died of cardiac arrest that hit her as a result of the shock.
On Wednesday a woman was killed and six were injured in the village of Agha, Daqhlia, when a truck loaded with 500 cylinders exploded.