Due to fears of another collapse, the City of Johannesburg has closed another area in the inner city.
According to the report, this is because one of the underground tunnels is unstable. This follows the devastation caused by Wednesday’s explosion, which claimed one life, injured 48 people, and damaged 33 cars, the majority of which were minibus taxis.
City Manager Floyd Brink said the Johannesburg Emergency Services (EMS) had completed an assessment between Lilian Ngoyi and Loveday Streets but discovered that a tunnel is unstable.
“It was discovered that the tunnel structural integrity is deformed and unstable and may collapse at any given time due to the movement of cars crossing toward CJ Cronje Building. This area has now also been barricaded for the safety of motorists and pedestrians,” he said in a statement released last night. He appealed to residents not to interfere with the cordoned areas.
“We wish to caution residents to not in any way interfere with the boundaries and to not enter the cordoned-off areas for the sole purpose of their safety,” he added.
Brink said the City has inspected nine buildings in the nearby area where the explosion took place. “We have since inspected a total of nine buildings in the area and our test results at this stage are negative. We have struggled with access to one building and we will finalise the test once we have gained access.
All the eGoli Gas valves have been completely closed at this stage and our technical teams assure us that they are in the process of isolating the area from their system,” he said, adding that in the detailed statement, the EMS has now placed ventilation fans underground to blow any gas remnants that may have remained. He said electricity supply that has been cut off since Wednesday may be restored next week.
A HELPING HAND
“We are beginning to see a decrease in the presence of the gas and should be in a position to safely allow for the restoration of power and other services by Monday, latest,” Brink explained. He said water tankers, static tanks and VIP toilets have been strategically deployed in the affected area to support residents during this time. They have also deployed warm meals.
“To this end we have deployed the services of Disaster Management and Social Development to assist families with warm meals and other necessities until such a time we are assured it is safe to restore power to the area.”
Johannesburg Water has deployed 25 chemical toilets, five stationery tanks and four roaming water tankers are in the area to support residents.
“The chemical toilets will be serviced three times a week. Once the site is safe, Johannesburg Water will deploy CCTV technology into the underground pipe systems to make certain there is no further unidentified damage before we resume services,” he said. “By Monday, we anticipate that all manholes will be safe to open, including welded manholes, once the ventilation is concluded and the gas has been successfully extracted into the atmosphere.”
SOME PATIENTS RELEASED
He said 45 patients who were admitted to various hospitals have since been discharged.
“I am pleased to announce that of all people admitted into medical facilities, only three remain in hospitalisation and 45 have to date been discharged. We once more pass our condolences to the family of the deceased.” He emphasized that there are enough engineers in the City to deal with this kind of disaster.