Source: The Examiner

A GAS bottle explosion “like an earthquake” at a BP petrol station at Margate, south of Hobart, sent three people to hospital yesterday.

Witnesses reported people “sent flying”, windows blown out and pictures falling from walls of nearby businesses, with one reporting a “mushroom cloud” from the blast.

A Royal Hobart Hospital spokeswoman said patients were admitted as a precautionary measure, with patients reporting “being dazed” and like “being hit by a soundwave”.

They suffered bruising and cuts from flying debris but all have been discharged from hospital.

The explosion occurred just before 10am yesterday.

A number of people were treated for minor injuries by ambulance crews at the scene.

The blast blew a large hole in the station’s canopy and scattered debris as far as a car park across the busy Channel Highway.

Five cars were damaged, including a ute, believed to have been carrying a gas bottle, that was left mangled.

Inspector Ian Lindsay said most of the injured were in the service station’s forecourt at the time.

“There is no doubt that we can be thankful that there weren’t some more significant injuries considering the place where the explosion occurred and the extent of the debris,” he said.

One man, who sustained bruising to his legs, was protected by his car while filling up.

“He was extremely lucky,” Inspector Lindsay said.

Tasmania Police’s forensic post-blast team had joined fire crews and Workplace Standards officials to investigate the cause of the blast.

Police initially suspected it had been the ute’s gas bottle, but would later only confirm the station’s “infrastructure” wasn’t to blame.

Margate Hardware owner Allen Sculthorpe said while nearby homes and cars had windows blown out, another man who was filling up his car remained standing.

Yesterday afternoon, Police Post Blast Forensic personnel and Tasmania Fire Service investigators were working to determine the cause of the explosion.

Scattered debris at the scene of a gas bottle explosion yesterday morning at a Margate service station. Photo: Niki Culph