Kuching mall hires consultant to verify structural integrity after deadly blast

An explosion at the City One Megamall in Kuching injured 16 people, while the fate of two others is still unknown. — Picture from Bomba Sarawak
An explosion at the City One Megamall in Kuching injured 16 people, while the fate of two others is still unknown. — Picture from Bomba Sarawak

PETALING JAYA, Dec 5 — CityONE Megamall has engaged a structural engineering consultant to confirm that the mall is safe before it reopens its doors to the public following the fatal explosion yesterday which claimed three lives.

It said in a statement today that the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department had indicated that other areas in the mall were safe to be in.

“CityONE Megamall has engaged a certified structural engineering consultant to conduct a thorough walkthrough to confirm that the affected area is indeed safe before the mall is officially opened to the public,” it said.

The explosion, which is suspected to have been caused by a leaking gas tank, happened at about 3.30pm yesterday in a restaurant that was undergoing final preparations for its opening day today on the ground floor of the four-storey mall.

Forty-one people were injured in the blast, many of them workers of the new Nene Chicken outlet.

Stephen Long, the director of Kenbest Sdn Bhd which is the mall’s developer, said in the statement that they were saddened by the incident.

“From customer to contractor, we believe human lives are of the utmost importance and that they should be protected at all costs. We grieve alongside the families who have lost loved ones.

“At this point in time, we would like to focus our efforts on the needs of those affected and their families. Whether they need financial or emotional support, we want to be there with them,” he said.

Long pointed out that contrary to reports, there were no renovation works going on during the explosion but minor touch-ups.

He added that they were heartened by the way the local community had banded together in facing the incident.

“While we were on the ground yesterday, many civilians rushed to our sides to work alongside us to give aid to those injured. This community means a lot to us and we will work tirelessly to ensure that they get only our best efforts,” he said.

Earlier today, Nene Chicken Malaysia also expressed its sadness over the incident and extended its help to the victims.

In addition, State Fire and Rescue chief Khirudin Drahman had told a press conference that samples from the explosion have been collected for analysis and further investigation into what triggered the explosion.

“Forensic personnel will arrive from Kuala Lumpur later today to conduct tests on the samples,” Khirudin had said.

Sarawak police have ruled out any acts of terrorism in the explosion.

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