The roofing company’s manager, a man in his fifties, was on his way to a job with two employees on Wednesday morning around nine o’clock when they saw smoke coming from the cargo space. That is why he pulled the truck aside for a while in front of a bank branch in the Vichtesteenweg in Deerlijk. “The man and a passenger decided to park the vehicle and take a look. The gas bottle then exploded,” said the fire brigade.
The manager was killed. The other occupants suffered serious and minor injuries and were taken to hospital. The rear of the vehicle was completely destroyed and the bank branch also suffered some damage. The other gas bottles were removed from the truck.
‘House was shaking enormously’
Three people witnessed the explosion, according to Mayor Claude Croes. “They have seen everything happen and are received in the fire station. This is emotionally very difficult for them,” he says. “Other residents who need guidance are also taken care of there.”
The explosion was felt far away: local residents testify that their house was shaking. “We were very shocked. Suddenly there was a huge bang,” say local residents Joseph and Maria. “Our house was shaking tremendously. We quickly went outside and saw a huge gray plume of smoke coming out of the truck a little further ahead. There were immediately a lot of people watching.”
The area around the truck has been cordoned off.