‘I saw fire erupt from the ground’ – eyewitness 

Another explosion mere weeks after the last, rocked the Johannesburg CBD on Tuesday.  

This blast was accompanied by a one-storey high fire on the corner of Bertha and De Korte streets in Braamfontein at 15:15 on September 5, 2023.  

A Total Braamfontein petrol attendant, Emmanuel Legau, told Wits Vuvuzela he heard a loud bang and then, “I saw fire erupt from the ground, and I saw someone rolling on the floor, near the where the fire broke [out].” 

The explosion in an open manhole with an Egoli Gas maintenance team in it, led to their gas truck catching alight and then the flames quickly spread close to the entrance of South Point’s Epozini student accommodation.  

A fire erupts from a gas pipe explosion during an Egoli Gas maintenance, causing damage to a truck, a nearby building and the traffic lights. Photo: Terri-Ann Brouwers.

According to the city’s mayor, Kabelo Gwamanda, the team was carrying out “preventative maintenance” on pipeline infrastructure, to be proactive and not have a repeat of the Bree Street explosion just six and a half weeks ago.  

The fire was luckily extinguished within half an hour. Spokesperson of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Nana Radebe-Kgiba said “five people were injured and assessed on the scene,” with one Egoli Gas employee rushed to the hospital. All the injuries are said to be moderate.  

Firefighters manage the last flames of the Braamfontein gas explosion fire. Photo: Terri-Ann Brouwers.

In a statement, Egoli Gas called the fire on the gas line “unfortunate” and said they will be working more closely with the City of Joburg when carrying out maintenance in future to ensure public safety.   

Floyd Brink, member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) said an investigation is underway to determine the cause. 

The aftermath of the Braamfontein gas explosion fire. Photo: Terri-Ann Brouwers.

FEATURED IMAGE: A crowd look on as a from a gas pipe explosion engulfs a maintenance truck and a nearby vacant building. Photo by Terri-Ann Brouwers.

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