Al Khor petrol station closes indefinitely after gas tank explosion

Elysia Windrum

One of Al Khor’s few gas stations has been shuttered following a weekend incident in which a gas tank apparently erupted underground.

North Field gas station and several shops inside the complex – which include a Honda service center, eateries, a pharmacy and a grocery store – remained closed today, with Al Fazaa tape cordoning off the perimeter.

Elysia Windrum

Shopkeepers who spoke to Doha News said that the explosion occurred at 6am on Saturday morning.

Because the incident happened early on a weekend morning, the site was empty and there were no injuries, they said.

Additionally, the ground did not cave in, as it did during a similar incident at a different petrol station last year. Several shop windows were shattered from the force of the blast.

The shopkeepers explained that the explosion was quickly controlled, with police and fire trucks arriving at the scene shortly after the blast.

They added that most stores would likely reopen by the end of the week.

But the gas station’s reopening date remains unknown. One of the shopkeepers onsite told Doha News:

“The reopening of the station depends on the station’s management. We are all under different management. The gas tank is yet to be restored, so it could take some time before things are in working order.”

‘Time bomb’

The safety of Qatar’s petrol stations has been called into question recently, due to a spate of incidents. Earlier this year, a gas tank explosion at a restaurant inside a petrol station complex near Landmark killed 11 people.

Scene of accident near Landmark Mall.

Nadim Ziade/Twitter

Scene of accident near Landmark Mall in February 2014.

And in September of last year, an underground tank at a station on C-Ring Road apparently exploded, causing the ground to cave in and damaging several vehicles.

Al Andalus petrol station

Peter Kovessy / Doha News

Al Andalus petrol station

Al Andalus Petrol Station remains closed to this day, but is now being rebuilt and is expected to open soon – an idea that residents who are having trouble finding places to fill up their tanks would welcome.

Speaking to the Qatar Tribune after the blast at C-Ring Road’s gas station, Saud bin Abdullah al Hanzab, who at the time was chairman of the Central Municipal Council (CMC), criticized the country’s petrol stations, saying:

“They are a time bomb. Anything could have happened after the tanks suddenly caved in. We wish to avoid these things and want that the new designs avoid these things and situate the stations far away from neighborhoods.”

Government responses

Some efforts to improve safety at petrol stations around Qatar have been made following February’s deadly explosion.

Several restaurants at Abu Hamour Petrol Station were closed temporarily in February.

Nada Badawi

Several restaurants at Abu Hamour Petrol Station were closed temporarily in February as a preemptive safety measure.

For example, authorities cracked down on eateries located at gas stations who were flouting a two year-old law that mandates the use of electric stoves instead of gas ones.

The explosion, which took place at one of the station’s restaurants, was apparently caused by a pizza oven that had been left on and leaked gas.

The sale of Woqod Shafaf LPG gas cylinders at petrol stations was also temporarily halted in a bid prevent further gas station explosions.

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