4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News

4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News
4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News Led by John "Cueball" Mackenzie

13 June 2015


The "Serves You Right" cafe explosion and fire is a terrible tragedy.  With one fatality, and many, many more seriously injured, the scars on the victims and the community will never heal.

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.


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. 


shanghai said...

here here I always thought the use of gas for fnq was unusual but put it down because of cyclones or some other reason ?(lack of in fracture ?) in Sydney gas was cheap accessible and safe no exposed gas bottles like above .. my thoughts to the good folks of Ravenshoe

TAS said...

Gas is a dangerous substance from wherever it comes; bottle or pipe. Plenty of apartment buildings and house have exploded because of leaks which cause a build up and lethal explosions. Not sure where you are going with this Hillbilly. Yes, of course bottles should be reasonably protected, but also readily accessible for delivery changeovers. They are just as dangerous on the delivery truck. What now? Another level of nanny-state legislation, with 'gas bottle location inspectors' and compliance certificates - with the administrative fee multiple. Bad enough I have inspectors with tape measure around my pool area looking for that errant millimetre where some super-kid may breach my yard, whist ignoring the dam (river/creek/ocean) out the back.

Anonymous said...

Around 1200 people are killed on Australian roads every year and many more are seriously injured. When are we gonna get serious about car accidents as well.

We must be protected from ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Sad story and I am sure the rules will be examined after such heartbreak. The story last week where a couple died from lack of ventilation is another example of preventable death. We need more basic skills taught in schools.

We did move our BBQ gas bottle today after reading this, even though it is just a firecracker in comparison. I am opposed to over regulation though like living next to a raging creek but have to have pool fencing even though no child has access. So agree we need a review ...in time...after the time of grieving.

Seth said...

Businesses which provide a service to the public should most certainly have safety measures for the storage of gas on their premises. That should be a no brainer surely?

Seth said...

Businesses which provide a service to the public should most certainly have safety measures for the storage of gas on their premises. That should be a no brainer surely?

Anonymous said...

I've thought for years how dangerous the neighbour's big gas bottles would be in a cyclone. Oh yeah, but we are worried about blow up pools more than 30 cm deep needing to be fenced!

Bob R. said...

Well said Hillbilly. Let us hope there is an overhaul of regulations regarding safety of storage of gas. What has happened to those poor people in Ravenshoe should never happen again. Good one mate.

Hamish Krint said...

I would have thought that commercial premises at least should have their gas bottles inside a strong, lockable cage which can take some of the impact from a crashing vehicle?

shanghai said...

what about the exchangeable bottles outside all iga and petrol stations ?

Hamish krint said...

They are inside a cage

Anonymous said...

Mad Katter wants them buried underground. Yep you can imagine the rusting buried time bombs being a much safer alternative.

Anonymous said...

Silly old me but i just assumed that gas bottles had to be contained in a steel cage on commercial premises. Now I am not surprised that this accident happened. When I first came to Cairns I couldnt believe that there was no reticulated gas supply in an Australian city.
Now I have been here in hillbilly country for nearly a year nothing surprises me.People endure ridiculous insurance costs and that 5% surcharge on electricity and cop it sweet.
That warren Entsch sure gets a free ride,Cairns has no museum and no jobs yet Abbott can give $100 million to the French to build a museum. And from Entsch- nothing. Whose side is he on?

Anonymous said...

Nonetheless it is a public safety issue which some member of parliament should take up with a view to introducing enforceable safety regulations. What happened to that café in Ravenshoe should never happen again. Well done HBW for raising this.

Gayle said...

Yesterday I noticed with " Ravenshoe eyes" the gas bottle at the petrol station on the Barron River - it is not hard to imagine a situation where it might be hit as it's just to the side of the turn in into the station. There's just one but with its proximity to the fuel pumps and storage tanks the potential for a disaster is high.
I do think there is an urgent need for a review of placement of gas bottles before something similar to Ravenshoe occurs. The costs on so many levels of not doing something warrant action.

Anonymous said...

Mate you need to get your facts straight. Look at the investigation report it was a once in a million event and a sad. Nothing could have stopped the vehicle that crashed at ravenshoe. The Point is that there was no vehicle access to this site thete for not require vehicle protection. He went though a fence. Even if there was it would not have changed things. the speed of the vehicle would have gone through anything. If you look at the photos of the incident you will see th Ute dug down into the ground this is a result of the driver still petal flat to the floor.
It was a tragic event. This is one thing that sucks about the internet people uneducated make website full of miss informed information. Grow a brain and remove your hillbillies site.