'Dangerous building site' may have caused Belgian blast
4 August 2004, BRUSSELS - An unidentified Belgian construction worker has suggested lax safety precautions at a building site near to the scene of Friday's catastrophic gas blast may have contributed to the explosion, it was reported on Wednesday.
4 August 2004
BRUSSELS - An unidentified Belgian construction worker has suggested lax safety precautions at a building site near to the scene of Friday's catastrophic gas blast may have contributed to the explosion, it was reported on Wednesday.
The revelations fuel speculation that construction work at the diamond-cutting factory, Diamant Boart, may have damaged the gas pipeline and sparked the fatal explosion.
The news, reported in La Derniere Heure, came as Belgium marked an official day of mourning for the 18 victims of the inferno that swept through the industrial park when the pipeline blew.
According to the anonymous worker, building site managers insisted that all deadlines must be met at any cost.
He claimed that some firms operating on the site did not respect security beacons that prevented heavy machinery entering a 'danger zone' above the gas pipeline.
"I can confirm that this safety measure was not respected," he said.
But Diamant Boart insisted on Wednesday that the building works had nothing to do with the blast.
An official with the company said construction work at the site was completed six weeks ago and had been supervised throughout by the Belgian agency in charge of natural gas transportation.
Meanwhile, relatives of the French casualties in the tragedy are set to launch a compensation claim over their loss.
Three Frenchmen were killed and a further five injured.
The French families have reproached the Belgian authorities in particular for not evacuating the site as soon as the gas leak was discovered.
A period of 37 minutes elapsed between the first reports of the leak and the actual explosion.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news