As you are all aware, we registered another tragic incident of a gas cylinder explosion in Mbarara on the 30.11.2021, where two victims were fatally wounded and another 5 victims injured, one critically. The two deceased persons were identified as Kasozi Hussein, a 19-year-old, scrap dealer, and and Kisinde Baker, a 30-year-old, welder, at the scrap yard of John Tumwebaze. The 5 persons who were injured included; Nsabimana Emmanuel who critically injured, Kamusiime Gashom, Kamujuni Eunice, Ssentongo Mugisha, a 7-year-old male juvenile, and Tumwebaze John, a 44-year-old, owner of the scrap yard. The facts indicate that the gas cylinder explosion, was triggered, after the workers at the scrap yard, tried to cut and open the gas cylinder for scrap. It exploded killing the two instantly. This incident followed another tragic incident in Sunjor Supermarket, Seeta where two people died from a cylinder explosion due to leakage.
All scrap dealers, users of gas and welders should know that gas cylinder have compressed gases that can be toxic, flammable, corrosive and inert, which are dangerous. The biggest treats about gas cylinders or usage of gas is leakage from the cylinder. Other dangers are posed by cracks and blockage of pipes, and the use of expired cylinders. Most people who are welders, are not even aware that gas cylinders, have a 5-year expiry date.
We continue to witness an increase in scrap business and an increase in the use of gas, especially by young families, because it is very fast for cooking, cost effective and clean energy. However, many dealers and users of gas, do not have much knowledge on how to check for leakage or even take precautions. As a result the IGP has instructed the Director Fire and Rescue Services to liaise with the Ministry of Energy to widely disseminate information on safety precautions. They should also jointly enforce the safety regulations, by ensuring all gas dealers and operators, have licences, good ventilation and the capability to operate in safe manners. Every cylinder that does not meet the specific requirements, must be pulled out of circulation.
In addition, all gas users in homes and businesses should know how to maintain their gas by doing the following;
- Ensure gas cylinders are kept away from ignition sources and other flammable materials. Always keep the cylinder away from ignition forces.
- The cylinder must be kept in an upright position, and in well-ventilated areas to help prevent concentration incase leakage occurs or if left on.
- Do not turn on the electrical appliances, use a mobile phone or lighter, if you smell gas.
- Gas cylinder of 10 kg and above should be placed outside the kitchen, with periodic checks for leakage.
- Kitchen windows and doors should be let open for some time, before gas is ignited.
- When checking the level of gas in the cylinders, it is dangerous to shake it. One is instead advised to bring the cylinder out and pour water on it. When the water dries up, it’s the level of the gas in the cylinder.
- Those who can afford a fore blanket or wet towel and cloth, should use them to cover the store or cooker to remove oxygen and prevent more fire.
CP Enanga Fred
7th December 2021