Bahrain mall closed after explosion
Manama, May 28, 2014
A popular shopping mall in Manama will close for at least a week following a gas cylinder explosion that damaged more than 10 shops.
The "accidental" blast at the Lulu Centre was caused by a gas leak in a restaurant when the mall was closed on Monday night, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Security personnel who were guarding the complex at the time described the explosion as an "earthquake".
No injuries were reported but a Manama Municipality official yesterday said a major tragedy was averted.
"This could have been similar to the gas cylinder explosion in Qatar earlier this year that killed and injured several people," he said.
"The incident happened after 11.30pm when security guards were doing their rounds and the mall was empty.
"Based on our findings, it was a gas leak from a restaurant on the ground floor."
He spoke to the GDN yesterday when he and a group of forensic experts were assessing damage caused by the blast.
He said the sheer force of the blast shattered the display windows of more than 10 shops and pieces of glass flew several metres across the ground floor.
A car parked near one of the entrances was also damaged.
"Parts of the ceiling were also damaged and we expect the mall to be closed for a few days until the debris is cleared and it is safe for people to go inside," added the official.
A security guard who was inside the mall when the explosion happened said the impact of the blast felt like an earthquake.
"There was a huge explosion and glass doors of several shops were shattered and all over the place," said the Bahraini.
"We all just ran outside of the mall and saw debris, clothes and glass pieces fall all over - for a brief moment it felt like an earthquake."
Employees of several shops gathered outside the mall yesterday - some of whom were not aware of the explosion.
Authorities did not allow them to enter the complex to clear their shops as safety assessments were still ongoing.
The Interior Ministry said early yesterday morning that its operation room received a call reporting the "accidental gas cylinder blast". - TradeArabia News Service