Four buildings in the immediate vicinity of the gas tanker explosion caught fire, but the driver wasn't injured. Photo: Western Cape Traffic Photo: Western Cape Traffic

Cape Town – Some streets in the Boland town of Worcester had to be cordoned off after a tanker transporting liquefied petroleum gas exploded near the industrial area of the town at 6.15am on Wednesday.

This led to four buildings in the immediate vicinity catching fire, but the driver of the truck escaped without injury. Luckily the factories nearby were closed at the time.

The inferno lit up the town and residents who live several kilometres away reported feeling a tremor from the blast.

Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell said the situation is currently under control, with firefighters having commenced with a damping down of the area.

“The Breede Valley Fire Department responded immediately and were on the scene within minutes. Three injuries have been reported, two firefighters with minor injuries and a civilian with burn injuries who has been admitted to the ICU. 

"The good thing was that this incident occurred at a time of day when there was little traffic and few people around.”

Bredell said the situation report indicates that the driver of the tanker reversed into a lamp pole, causing damage to the tank, which released a vapour cloud.

“A civilian bakkie drove through the cloud, causing a fire and the explosion. The driver of the bakkie is the civilian currently in ICU with some burn wounds,” Bredell said.

Five buildings and two vehicles (the tanker and the bakkie) were completely destroyed and another four buildings have been partially destroyed. 

There also appears to be some damage to the town’s water mains and electricity infrastructure in the immediate vicinity.

Firefighters from the Breede Valley fire department will remain on the scene until operations have been concluded.