A gas leak at a restaurant on one of the busiest streets in Antalya caused an explosion at 6:45 a.m. Monday, frightening residents and alarming police and rescue teams, but there were no casualties.
The leak originated from a restaurant in the basement of a six-story building. The explosion caused serious financial loss both for the restaurant and nearby buildings and shops.
“We woke up to a terrible sound that we did not recognize at first. It was so disturbing that we rushed outside the house, and then saw the disaster-like scene,” said Hayriye Sönmez, a 52-year-old resident.
Sönmez said the police arrived at the scene shortly after the explosion and took the necessary precautions.
“The minutes after the explosion were dangerous for us all, since a second or third explosion might occur, endangering our lives,” she said. “But the police stepped in at the right time and prevented a disaster.”
Ali Beydemir, who owns a nearby shop, said that besides the police forces, a number of ambulances came with rescue teams.
“Although it was an unfortunate event for everyone, I still feel lucky, since we have emergency teams intervening just a few minutes after such things occur in this city. This indeed gave me a feeling of security,” he said.
‘What if it had happened at a busy hour?’
The blast occurred at an early hour, when the restaurant and nearby shops had no customers, and as a result, there were no casualties. Still, some resident wondered what would have happened if the explosion had occurred later.
Neslihan Sayman, a shop owner, said the main reason for the explosion was not the gas leak but negligence.
“Would it be so difficult to install a sensor that can detect the gas leak at the restaurant?” she asked.
Sayman also noted that the lack of precautions at places that are open to the whole community constitute criminal action.
“What if it had occurred at 2 p.m. and killed hundreds of people?” she asked. “Who would have taken responsibility for this if my children had been killed in the explosion?”
Mehmet Ergemiş, 45, said that instead of being happy that there were no casualties, the local authorities should take the necessary precautions to encourage shop owners to install gas detectors.
“If the owners resist, which I do not think they will, the police should apply the necessary penalty,” he said. “We may not be this lucky next time.”
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