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Roads in Joburg CBD closed after explosion

One person dies, 48 injured in incident

Gas explosion on Bree street in Johannesburg CBD.
Gas explosion on Bree street in Johannesburg CBD.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Multiple roads in the Johannesburg CBD have been closed after the unexplained explosion which caused massive fissures near the Bree Street taxi rank.

The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) has cordoned off the scene and has advised motorists to use alternative routes while investigations take place to determine the cause of the damage.

The affected area and alternative routes.
The affected area and alternative routes.
Image: JMPD

“Motorists are advised that Lilian Ngoyi [Bree] Street in the Johannesburg CBD is closed off to traffic between Pixley Ka Seme [Sauer] and Von Weilligh Streets. All the streets crossing Lilian Ngoyi Street between Rahima Moosa and Plein Street, such as Simmonds Street, Harrison Street, Loveday Street, Rissik Street, Joubert Street, Eloff Street and Von Brandis Street are also closed,” said JMPD spokesperson Xolani Fihla.

“A contraflow traffic management system will be in place on Rahima Moosa Street between 6am and 2pm where vehicles coming from Pixley Ka Seme Street will turn right onto Rahima Moosa Street and proceed east towards Von Weilligh Street for vehicles going to the MTN taxi rank."

On Thursday morning Johannesburg EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi confirmed that one person has died from the incident while 48 people were injured.

It is suspected that a gas leak was the cause of the incident while officials have since confirmed that 34 vehicles were damaged.

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi on Wednesday night said Egoli Gas technicians found a minor leak from a 100m gas pipe and said investigations into the cause of the explosion were still under way, despite the utility issuing a statement saying that it was “unlikely” the explosion was caused by a gas pipeline or leak.

“Even though Egoli Gas insists that it’s not their pipeline, we all know and it’s common knowledge that there is a [strong] smell of gas in the area. So the teams from environmental health are assisting us to determine where this gas comes from.”

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