Police say an oxyacetylene cylinder may have exploded, causing nearby buildings’ windows to blow out and scattering debris in Footscray.
One man has died after an explosion in the truck he was driving triggered a collision involving five cars in Melbourne’s west. Paramedics were assessing three others at the scene while one person was taken to Footscray Hospital.
Police said they were assessing LPG cylinders in the back of the truck but were unclear about what had caused the explosion around 11.55am that left “a chaotic, unusual scene” at the intersection of Barkly and Gordon Streets in Footscray.
It was unclear whether the explosion happened before or after the impact, police said.
Two sets of power lines are down and windows were blown out in nearby homes. The explosion spread debris over an area of about 100 meters along Barkly Street east of Gordon Street.
MFB incident commander Marcus Baker said firefighters were alerted to the mayhem at 11:55 in the morning by several emergency calls.
“It was a scene of great chaos,” he said.
Much of the debris is believed to have come from the truck, which was loaded with “mixed goods of a second-hand nature” including LPG cylinders, Mr. Baker said.
Acting Inspector Nigel L’Estrange, of Victoria Police, said the truck was travelling east along Barkly Street when it collided with a 4WD.
“It was quite significant blast,” Acting Inspector L’Estrange said.
Local residents said the impact of the smash was extreme, triggering several automatic alarms and numerous phone calls from people nearby.
Nearby buildings had sustained damage from the shockwave, include one probably containing asbestos, he said.
An exclusion zone was put in place and 19 people from houses on Barkly Street between Creswick and Gordon streets were evacuated.
Artur Wydro, from the nearby Alan Mance car dealership on Barkly Street, said the windows of the building shook when the explosion occurred.
“We all jumped, we thought it was a bomb or something,” he said.
“We ran into the street and all we could see was white smoke, so we knew it was an explosion — if something was on fire the smoke would have been black or grey.
“There was a white fog settling over the street, it was very scary. It looked like someone had thrown clothes all over the street.”
Originally published: Herald Sun