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Egoli Gas says ‘small leak’ detected on Bree Street after Joburg CBD explosion

The scene of the underground explosion in Bree Street.
The scene of the underground explosion in Bree Street.
Image: Bathandwa Malingo

As gas emerged as the most likely cause of an explosion that rocked the Joburg CBD, claiming one life and leaving 48 people injured, Egoli Gas confirmed that a “small leak” had been detected which it said was likely caused by the explosion.

There was panic and chaos on Bree Street in the CBD on Wednesday afternoon after an explosion caused the road to cave in and resulted in several vehicles being flung from the road or toppled by the force of the blast.

Thirty-four vehicles, mostly taxis, were damaged in the explosion.

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi said Egoli Gas was the “centre of focus” in the probe into the cause of the blast.

But the oil and gas company said it was “unlikely that the explosion was caused by a gas pipeline or leak”.

“Our network has experienced no pressure loss which indicates the gas pipelines are intact. Our customers in the area continue to receive gas uninterrupted,” the company said.

In an update on Wednesday night it said: “The pipeline running on the road servitude of Bree Street has been checked and is not damaged. A small leak has been detected on the servitude pipeline at the corner of Bree and Eloff on a 100mm pipe.

“We believe the crack in the pipe has been caused by the collapse of the road. Our team is busy repairing this leak. Egoli Gas notes that there are about 15 other utility lines in the same area, for example a sewerage line that runs directly underneath the street. We would like to reiterate that our pipelines run on the servitude of the road.

“Egoli Gas observed through various platforms and by on-site members that one or two manhole covers have been blown off and a white gas-like substance is seen coming from these openings as well as some of the exposed cracks in the road. Egoli Gas would like to mention that our piped natural gas is not visible to the human eye and this appears to be visible warm steam.”

The company added: “We will keep the public posted as we continue assessing any damage to our network and assisting and providing piped natural gas expertise to the authorities, ensuring the area is maintained safe.”


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