KUCHING: Three people were killed and 29 others injured when a gas explosion rocked an eatery in CityOne Megamall in Jalan Song here today.
The blast is believed to have been due to a gas explosion triggered by renovation works at one of the mall’s commercial outlets.
According to state Fire and Rescue Department director Khirudin Drahman, one of the deceased was from Penang while another two were Sarawakians.
Fire and rescue personnel discovered the three bodies amidst debris in the badly-damaged outlet following the 3.30pm blast.
Khirudin said they were alerted to the explosion at 3.37pm.
He said the victims succumbed to their injuries after they were hit by the collapsed wall debris following the explosion.
Out of those who were injured, four were classified as seriously injured.
It is learnt that two of the deceased were employees of the same eatery, a fast food restaurant, which was undergoing final preparations for its opening day today.
Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, who was at the scene, urged the public not to make unnecessary speculations.
“We must be responsible and not spread unnecessary speculations on social media,“ he told reporters, referring to Facebook posts that the explosion was related to racial conflict.
He also appealed to the people to let the police and the Fire Department conduct their investigation.
The mall, the largest in Kuching, is located near a busy intersection between the residential area of Tabuan Jaya and the Kuching International Airport some five minutes away.
With 1.5 million sq ft of gross space spread across four storeys, the mall has some 400 retail outlets.
Following the explosion, the mall’s management said on its Facebook page that the mall will be closed with immediate effect until further notice.