Something very out of the ordinary today, when the Gas Cylinder behind our offices caught on fire.
At first I thought this was a drill, once outside, we moved from the main muster point further down the Town Park, then the whole park was evacuated, and we were told to go home. It was scary watching the flames, although the cylinder is not in use, there is obviously residual gas inside it. This footage above was taken by me from the muster point at the far end of the park shortly after the fire had begun.
The last time there was a major incident, back in the 1980s, several firemen were injured, and the Gas Cylinder was fully in use. A fireman living next to us (George Le Vesconte) said that if it had gone off, it would have taken out a sizable part of St Helier. Fortunately this cylinder was largely empty. The latest report is that the fire is under control, and a controlled burning off the LPG gas is taking place.
The main gas storage facilities are now at La Collette - not too far from the JEC Power station. It makes you wonder what kind of risk assessment has been done to ensure their safety; if they went up, the entire Island's power supplies could be seriously disrupted. No electricity, no gas, no coal, and no incinerator.
Spare a thought for those poor people who live in the area, who have been evacuated. The latest report suggests that they won't be allowed back home tonight. We were just moved out of the area, and there didn't seem to be anyone telling those people where to get news on the incident, and where they might need to go tonight if the exclusion zone remained. I gather that's being done now, but it really should have been done earlier.