Explosion kills father of two

Emergency services rushed to this Paget shed yesterday after an explosion killed a 31-year-old Mackay man.
Emergency services rushed to this Paget shed yesterday after an explosion killed a 31-year-old Mackay man. Peter Holt

A MASSIVE explosion ripped holes in the roof of an industrial shed when it claimed the life of a 31-year-old Mackay father of two at Paget yesterday.

It was like dynamite going off. It shook the ground and tremors could be felt hundreds of metres away.

About four workers were blown off their feet.

Volunteers from neighbouring businesses and co-workers of the dead man used fire extinguishers and a garden hose on the wall of fire but their efforts were in vain.

The large, six-bay industrial shed was shared by two businesses. It is about 300 metres south of Boundary Road, behind CFT Security and Multrie Hire.

Acting Inspector Simon Palmer said it was believed the explosion occurred about 3pm when a co-owner of a boat repair business was working on a boat. However, the exact cause may not be known until investigations are complete.

Three firefighting units, two ambulances and five police cars rushed to the scene. The force of the explosion was tremendous, ripping giant holes in the roof.

“There was a big explosion,” Matt Multrie said.

“We heard it, and felt it, from up here (about 200m away). We ran down and tried to help.

“The other workers came out and said two apprentices and a supervisor were unaccounted for.”

Police later confirmed there was one fatality and everyone else was safe and uninjured but in shock.

“We saw the fire,” Mr Multrie said. “There were flames everywhere and workers were running around with fire extinguishers. We moved a few boats out of the shed.”

CFT Security officer Calvin Trim was sitting outdoors, having smoko, when he heard the bang.

“There was a massive amount of flames. Tyres and all sorts of stuff were coming through the roof.

“The flames were leaping out through the holes in the roof. We rushed over and tried to help.

“It was an explosion like dynamite going off.

“It even rocked the tables we were sitting at.

“There were lots of flames. You could see it was well and truly under way. I just tried to keep everyone back. From what I could see, someone was working on a boat.

“There were eight or nine people in the area. They were all walking around in a bit of a daze.”

Acting Inspector Palmer said: “There was quite a bit of force (in the explosion) and damage to the building.

“There were about four people within the immediate area. Some of those persons were actually pushed back by the force of the explosion.”

The dead man’s wife had been notified of her husband’s death, Acting Inspector Palmer said.

His name was not released last night.

There will be a joint investigation between police and the Division of Workplace, Health and Safety.

Yesterday’s fatality occurred on the fifth anniversary of the death of Joshua Hopkinson, 17, in an industrial accident at Hardchrome Pty Ltd in Paget.

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