UUP councillor calls for ‘full scale investigation’ into blast

An east Belfast councillor has called for “a full scale investigation” into the cause of a suspected gas explosion at business premises in Ballyhackamore.

The newly-opened Indian restaurant on the Upper Newtownards Road was badly damaged in the blast, which occurred at around 4pm today.

The scene of the suspected gas explosion in Ballyhackamore.

The scene of the suspected gas explosion in Ballyhackamore.

Fire and Ambulance Service crews were called to the scene and one man was taken to hospital with an arm injury which isn’t believed to be life-threatening.

According to the South Eastern Health Trust, his condition is described as “stable”.

Local councillor Jim Rodgers, who was on the scene not long after the explosion, praised the efforts of the emergency services and neighbouring business owners for their response to the incident.

“This was very serious and it could have been a lot worse,” the UUP man said. “The most important thing is that no lives have been lost.

Alderman Jim Rodgers. 'Picture by Pacemaker

Alderman Jim Rodgers. 'Picture by Pacemaker

“One man sustained an arm injury and I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery.”

Calling for “a full scale investigation into what happened and the findings to be made public”, Alderman Rodgers said experts will have to assess the condition of the building to see if it has to be demolished.

“Indications I got at the scene are that the two inside lanes (of the road outside the restaurant) could be closed for at least 24 hours, possibly 48 hours or longer, so it’s going to case considerable disruption in the area,” he added.