2 dead in Abu Dhabi restaurant blast caused by gas leak
Abu Dhabi - A number of people were also taken to a hospital after sustaining minor and moderate injuries, according to the police.
Two people were killed in a gas explosion that ripped through a fast food restaurant in Abu Dhabi on Monday morning, authorities said.
One of the victims was near the explosion site on Rashid Bin Saeed Street (Airport Road), while the other was a passerby who was hit by the debris, the Abu Dhabi Media Office said in a statement.
A number of people were also taken to a hospital after sustaining minor and moderate injuries, according to the police.
Investigations show that the blast was caused by "a misalignment in the gas container fittings, following refuelling".
Two fast food restaurants and other shops on the ground floor of the building were badly damaged, based on the photos shared by the authorities. Windows on the first floor were shattered, and a number of vehicles parked outside were also hit.
Residents of the building were safely evacuated and no injuries were reported among them, the Abu Dhabi Police said. Temporary accommodation has also been arranged for the tenants.
Police had cordoned off the area and teams were at the site to handle the situation. "We urge people to avoid spreading rumours and use only official news sources," authorities said.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, residents in the area were shocked by the explosion that jolted their neighbourhood and sent flying debris across the road.
Levin David Bwiso, a Ugandan expat who lives in one of the villas behind the restaurant building, said he and his friends in other flats initially thought it was an earthquake.
"The sound was so loud and the house jolted," he said. Only when they stepped outside did they realise that the sound came from a blast inside a restaurant.
Hashim Sajeed, another resident of the area, said the police and paramedics had arrived within minutes.
"The incident occurred at past 10am. I was in my house located in the nearby building when I heard the explosion," Bwiso said.
Julius Banks, a taxi driver in Abu Dhabi, said: "I was driving in the area when the incident occurred. I heard a very loud sound."
Part of the Sheikh Rashid Road, connecting to Hazza Street, was temporarily closed to traffic because of the incident, police said in an alert they shared on Twitter.
Officers at the site also cleared the street as emergency response teams attended to the victims.