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Civil action launchedover gas blast

Published on 23/08/2004

23 August 2003

BRUSSELS – A total of 188 residents from the area of the Ghislenghien gas blast on Monday officially launched a civil legal action they hope will enable them to question the way the causes of the disaster are being investigated.

According to news agency Belga, the examining magistrate of Tournai will now assess whether the action is eligible.

“Of the 192 residents who were interested in the action, 188 finally signed up on Monday,” confirmed the magistrate.

Although the residents are not claiming damages, they want to reserve the right to ask questions of the investigators probing the cause of the fatal explosion that rocked Ghislenghien on 30 July.

The explosion of a gas pipe on an industrial site claimed a 21st victim at the weekend when another man died of his burn injuries.

The 24th town festival of nearby Ath this weekend was overshadowed by the tragedy of the gas blast.

Townspeople gathered for an emotional ceremony in the town centre on Saturday, where the symbolism of the story of David and Goliath was evoked.

A traditional parade of giant figures on Sunday was joined by firemen, local police officers and Electrabel workers, all of whom had been hit by last month’s tragedy.

“I salute the initiative of the town of Ath to bring together the unfortunate actors in the catastrophe,” Jean-Claude Mondo, head of the
Hainaut west emergency services, told La Libre Belgique.

The crowd reserved its biggest round of applause for the fire fighters, some of whom were carrying the giant figures.

Mondo said a football match, due to take place on 3 September in Anderlecht stadium would give its proceeds to the Ghislenghien victims.

Meanwhile, another gas explosion rocked the Schaerbeek area of Brussels at the weekend, injuring five people, with one man who now in a coma with 70 percent burns.

The cause of the blast in the man’s house is still unknown.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news