One person was killed and around 50 injured when a suspected gas explosion ripped apart a busy road in South Africa’s biggest city Johannesburg on Wednesday, officials said Thursday.
The explosion occurred after 5 p.m. local time (1500GMT), said Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi. The incident happened during rush hour as thousands of people were rushing to catch minibus taxis home from work.
Lesufi said Bree Street, where the blast occurred, has been cordoned off together with parts of the adjacent streets.
The force from the explosion overturned several passenger vehicles with the street surface ripped apart as if from an earthquake.
Bree Street has a taxi terminal where thousands of commuters usually board minibus taxis, a common method of transportation to homes, schools, and workplaces.
The premier said several experts have been called in to determine what might have caused the explosion. Egoli gas, a company that runs an underground pipeline network in Johannesburg, said its network was not compromised.
“We have evacuated homeless people to a safe area,” Lesufi said.
People living in flats along Bree Street have been advised to evacuate the buildings.
Earlier this month, at least 16 people died after a suspected gas cylinder leak at an informal settlement near the suburb of Boksburg just outside Johannesburg.
Ekurhuleni Emergency Services spokesman William Ntladi told reporters at the time that a nitrate oxide gas cylinder was found at the Angelo informal settlement which is suspected to have been used by illegal miners to extract gold, but investigations are still ongoing.