A logistics manager was injured when a gas tanker exploded, while he was nearby in his vehicle in Worcester on Wednesday morning, according to various sources.
Moreson Earthmovers director Alwyn Visser confirmed to News24 that their logistics manager Bennie Koch had been rushed to hospital.
"His vehicle was turned over in the explosion and he crept out the vehicle," he said. "He had a wound on his back, but we don't know anything more."
Koch has worked for the Robertson company for a few years. Visser said they were shocked at the news and waiting to hear more on his condition.
The SA Long-Distance Truckers group told News24 that Koch, who had worked as a trucker in the past, had been driving by at the time and that his vehicle was "obliterated".
They said he was in a critical condition at a hospital in Worcester.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Bennie and his family."
Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said that the situation report indicated that the driver of the tanker had reversed into a lamp pole, causing damage to the tank, releasing a vapour cloud.
"A civilian bakkie drove through the cloud, causing a fire and the explosion. The driver of the bakkie is the civilian currently in ICU with some burn wounds," said Bredell.
"The good thing was that this incident occurred at a time of day when there was little traffic and few people around."
The explosion happened around 06:10 and SAPS forensic officers were on the scene to investigate, said Theo Botha, the chief fire officer for the Breede Valley Fire and Rescue Services.
He also confirmed that a civilian, who was in his vehicle at the time, had sustained burn wounds and was taken to hospital.
"Two firefighters who received minor injuries have been discharged," he said.
"The driver was inside the tanker at the time, but he fortunately started evacuating before the explosion took place. As far as I know, he was not injured."
(Supplied by Kenny Africa)
Botha said about four buildings had been completely destroyed, while around five were partially damaged.
Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa earlier told News24 that a biltong shop, the Bike Boutique and the Department of Water and Sanitation building were among the buildings destroyed in the blaze.
Bredell said there appeared to be some damage to the town's water mains and the electricity infrastructure in the immediate vicinity.
Firefighters would remain on the scene until operations had been concluded.
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