|SILENT BOMBS STAND READY EVERYWHERE|
The most common things we heard around town. "Such a freak accident". "One in a million". The explosion was apparently caused by a ute that drove into gas bottles that look to have been sitting directly adjacent to the rear service entrance to the business. The QPS have announced that they are "conducting an investigation of the driver". An investigation that focuses on the driver without looking at the broader issue of LPG gas storage is shortsighted.
But was it a "freak accident"? We don't think so. But we've got an idea.
There is NO proper regulation of gas bottle installation, storage, and use in Queensland. And when we started to make enquires after the tragedy about the regulations surrounding the commercial use of high-pressure gas bottles, we were met with government agencies all trying to point the finger of blame at someone else.
LPG (also known as propane) is used extensively commercially in Queensland. With little reticulated natural gas available (a huge shortcoming in the Australian energy use profile), LPG is in demand by users that need high heating capability. Restaurants, hotels, laundromats, and others use LPG.
Gas bottle explosions are not uncommon, and increasing in frequency.
A cursory look around the Cairns area has revealed the extremely dangerous situation that lack of regulation and/or regulatory enforcement has created. Government again is asleep at the switch.
THIS IS THE LIKELY CAUSE OF THE RAVENSHOE TRAGEDY.
The Queensland Fire Service website, with thousands of pages of information, has NO guidelines on the management of LPG systems - either residentially or commercially. QFS is responsible for safety inspections of businesses, aren't they? They refused to answer this question for us. How can this be?
Queensland State Development has a Planning Policy Guideline (apparently not compulsory) called "Guidance on Development Involving Hazardous Chemicals" - this includes LPG. The guideline is essentially a lot of finger-pointing at other agencies and lists of "self-assesible" uses. Essentially it says "there are other international standards that specify example design and construction guidelines for such storage and handling systems and their associated safety design features". They referred us to Australian Standard AS-1940.
Government gobbledygook that essentially says "we don't care".
Cairns Council says they don't do building safety inspections, either on new buildings (private certifiers) or existing commercial businesses.
So unlike civilised countries around the world, we're at the mercy of these bombs that have been installed with various levels of skill or concern. Silently waiting to go off.
The photo collection here are ALL businesses in Cairns. NOT ONE of these gas bottle installations complies with either Elgas guidelines nor AS-1940. All of these bottles are within easy collision with a vehicle. Bollards are insufficient or installed incorrectly. Gas is adjacent to open windows or air conditioners. Small cafes as well as some very large businesses (Dunwoody's, Manning's Pies).
If readers see any other unsafe LPG bottle installations, please forward your photos to HillbillyWatch.
We are also calling for the lamestream media to focus their attention at the REAL cause of this horrible event, and call for a fuller investigation into this widespread problem. Failure to act will inevitably result in further deaths and injuries. That doesn't serve us right.