Hampshire Park explosion and fire (next door to us)


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Tonight, at around 7:30pm, there was an explosion and fire in an apartment on the 17th floor of the building next to us — Hampshire Park (not Hampshire Residence where we live).

Thankfully, we were out at the great Suzi’s Corner having an awesome steak with about 20 friends when it happened. Reports so far say one person has been injured and taken to hospital.

Which is impressive, seeing as many windows of apartments in our building had been shattered — presumably from the either a shock wave or the frequency of the sound. The Corus Hotel down the street a little also had some windows shattered.

They let us into our building and we hesitantly caught the elevator up to our floor from the darkened lobby. We carefully looked around our apartment to thankfully find minimal damage: the back door and one bathroom door had been blown open, splitting the door frames and busting the hinges; and some (floating) floorboards looked and felt like they had shifted. No broken windows — or anything else — and the air con was still running (!). You can see the blackened apartment from a few of our windows, so we’re counting ourselves lucky to have not had any more damage.

We (Kelly, myself, and Kelly’s parents) decided to stay in a hotel tonight just to be safe — it would’ve been difficult to get to sleep I think (especially with next door’s fire alarm still ringing).

We’ll go back tomorrow and learn more details. Hopefully everything will be back to normal. Will report once we know more.

Here are some photos I took tonight, and notes below:

  1. Blackened apartment on 17th floor at Hampshire Park, and our building to the left of it (we’re on 25th floor of Hampshire Residence).
  2. Blackened apartment seen from the entrance to our building.
  3. Exploded apartment as viewed from our balcony (and BBQ area).
  4. Damage to the lobby of block B of our building. Many windows were shattered in our block A and block B. There was glass all over the ground and street.
  5. Damaged car parked in front of our lobby.
  6. Fire engines at the entrance to our building. The whole street had been cut off the traffic, and residents from our building were allowed in to survey damage. I expect residents from Hampshire Park were evacuated and not allowed back in.
  7. Fire engine outside Corus Hotel (down the street) which helped knock out remaining glass from shattered windows.
  8. Trampled police tape put up to block auto and foot traffic.
  9. Blasted apartment seen from our rear balcony this morning.
  10. Fire crew/investigators surveying damage and taking photos (and standing on the edge).
Update 1 – 10:30am
  • Reports say the 71 61 year old English man in the apartment had just moved on Friday in and was not familiar with the gas stove/oven system. Hard lesson to learn.
  • Upon inspection there was a little more damage to our place than we saw last night — one window was shattered, the roof above the BBQ and rear balcony caved in a little, the sliding kitchen window has come off its rails, and some other smaller issues.
  • We’re not opening any windows that face in the direction of the explosion in case they are unstable and fall off (and down over 20 floors). That would not be fun.
  • We’ve cleaned up and everything else appears to be normal, no major damage, so life goes on.
  • I’m still coming to Melbourne as scheduled :)
Update 2 – 2:20pm
  • Images 9 and 10 added. See image notes above.
  • Hampshire Park residents were allowed to enter the building for the first time around 10am this morning. The elevators were not working so the stairs are the only way up. Harder.
  • There’s a briefing for the residents of our building (Hampshire Residence) at 5pm today. Will report back.
  • Quite enjoying my news reporter-self ;)
Update 3 – 12:20am

Meeting today was mainly for apartment owners, but was helpful for residents (like me). Things discussed:

  • At 9:00am today (Tuesday) a team of people will begin the process of going to each apartment in Block A and B to document and cover up any broken or misaligned windows and sliding doors (weather sealing [and insurance] reasons only at this stage). They will do this based on the number of window issues reported by residents/owners at todays meeting.
  • Timelines for actual work to be given out in the next day or two, depending on how the documentation of window issues go. (Overseas owners should have been emailed info and updates.)
  • Common area (swimming pool and surrounds) are closed for at least a few days. Assessment of area and possible falling glass from window issues will dictate when the common area is safe to muck about in again. Hopefully soon, it’s been bloody hot the last few days (and we have people visiting from OZ who’d love a dip!)
  • I wish people would shut the hell up and listen in the meetings so everyone can hear questions being asked and answered. Yes, I know you owners of apartments and children have legitimate concerns, but pushing in with questions and talking while the answers are being given will not help. We are all frustrated and eager to have things repaired.
  • Please listen to announcements before asking your questions that have already been answered. Several times.
  • I’m tired.
  • Still heading to Oz on Wednesday!
Update 4 – 12:28am
  • We’ve been told some gas companies in Malaysia DO NOT add a scent to the natural gas, leaving it undetectable by your senses. This varies from apartment building to apartment building.
  • Invest in a gas leak detector – about RM200. Install it UNDER your stove ‘cos gas is heavier than air.
  • I’m no expert in anything gas related, so don’t take my word as expert advice. I’m a graphic design/art direction, UI and UX, and photography person. You can hire me for expert advice in these areas ;)
Update 5 – May 15
  • Pool’s open :)
Update 6 – August 8
  • Commenter Boh has supplied an update.

    There was an explosion May 8th and a British expat died. Contrary to what was written in the news, the gas explosion was caused by negligence from the management. A report from Gas Malaysia and Bomba has been released July 7th showing in details the cause of the explosion. The gas pipe behind a section of the top cabinet in the kitchen was penetrated by a screw (done by a contractor appointed by the landlord and management). The drilling has caused both sides of the pipe acted as points of gas release. BOMBA and Gas Malaysia recommended to inspect the entire structure and pipe system of the building but nothing has been done. This Building is not safe.

    I cannot vouch for the accuracies of the information — it seems like a comment from a resident who’s fed up with the building’s management (which I can understand from the way our building’s management handled the incident). I have published the comment here as a way to ‘complete’ this post.

    I have heard from various sources than the expat who was injured in the explosion had in fact died days later in hospital. If it’s true the cause of the explosion was negligent maintenance by a contractor, it is indeed a tragic loss.

All images copyright © Bart Kowalski 2011, not to be used without permission

  • Goog
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    Author
    Goog Goog

    Shit man!  Good that you took the safe step of sleeping somewhere else for the night. You just never know. It must of been scary. Did you and Kelly hear the explosion?

    See you this week. Mum wants to have a pizza maybe Thursday night? What do you think?

  • Rosie
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    Rosie Rosie

    Oh my goodness! How scary. What is an apartment doing exploding like that. Uncool.

  • Danny
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    Author
    Danny Danny

    Wow this is crazy. I was there on Saturday evening for a pool party. Thank goodness it happened on a quieter evening. I hope no one else was seriously injured besides the owner as reported.

    Good luck with the reparation!

  • Angelina
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    Author
    Angelina Angelina

    Really appreciate the photos you posted. We stay in the other block of Hampshire Park and fortunately were all away. With only the online reports, it has been difficult to envisage what happened. Thank God you and your family were all out at the time.

  • Barto
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    Barto Barto

    Thanks for the well wishes Danny and Angelina.

  • Even (Singapore)
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    Even (Singapore) Even (Singapore)

    Glad all are well except that gentlemen concerned. Very professional updates on situation reports by you. A concerned neighbour from Hampshire Residences

  • JT
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    Author
    JT JT

    OMGoodness, my parents apartment is next door on the left to the one blown and your images have been helpful in seeing the damage in photos before real life as both out of the apartment for the weekend!

  • LS
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    Author
    LS LS

    Oh gosh! I just heard about it from my mum today. We also have an apartment on the 25th floor of Hampshire Residences but we are currently overseas. Our tenants told us about the damage but it is really scary to know about the explosion… Thank God you were out during the time! Could have been a very frightening experience for you. Hope all is well :)

  • Sunnita
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    Author
    Sunnita Sunnita

    I live in block B of hampshire park and shit it was scary! Me and my younger sister were freaking out so much! One of my friends lived a couple of floors below us and we didnt hear from her for a couple of hours! :( But she is ok! :) And did you see the people trapped a couple of floors below the fire!? Yeah, didnt see that one did ya! ;)

  • Boh
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    Author
    Boh Boh

    You should update your page regarding Hampshire Park Condo.

    There was an explosion May 8th and a British expat died. Contratry to what was written in the news, the gas explosion was caused by negligence from the management. A report from Gas Malaysia and Bomba has been released July 7th showing in details the cause of the explosion. The gas pipe behind a section of the top cabinet in the kitchen was penetrated by a screw (done by a contractor appointed by the landlord and management). The drilling has caused both sides of the pipe acted as points of gas release. BOMBA and Gas Malaysia recommended to inspect the entire structure and pipe system of the building but nothing has been done. This Building is not safe.