Thursday, September 29, 2011

Police: No sabotage or terrorism link to Empire Gallery blast N

By Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

SUBANG JAYA, Sept 28 — The police have ruled out sabotage and terrorism as being behind this morning’s explosion that ripped through Empire Gallery here, confirming the blast was caused by a gas leak that could have been due to negligence.

Deputy Selangor CPO Datuk A. Thaiveegan told reporters at the scene that the complex, which comprises a 12-storey office suites tower, five-storey shopping mall, a nine-storey SOHO (small office home office) and a 10-storey hotel, will be closed to the public indefinitely.

“Many have called to ask if the incident was caused by sabotage or terrorism. From our early investigations, no proof was found to indicate this.

“Meaning, there was no sabotage and no link to terrorism. We regard this as an accident, which could have been caused by negligence,” he said.

Fire and Rescue Department personnel, police, its forensics unit and the Energy Commission (EC), he said, will press on with investigations to discover what caused the leak.

“We know it was a gas leak ... but what caused the blast? There must have been a spark,” he said.

He also confirmed that the police would be stationed at the mall throughout investigations to prevent any looting from the damaged mall outlets.

In the 3.30am incident here, a gas explosion ripped through the mall, causing severe damage to at least five floors.

Some 170 hotel guests and 10 SOHO tenants had to be evacuated, while four individuals sustained minor injuries.

Hundreds of security and safety personnel, government agency officers, engineers and architects were deployed to monitor the chaotic scene, which had calmed considerably by this afternoon.

At press time, the authorities were still inspecting the scene and have yet to allow the mall’s management and experts to enter the premises.


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