A tank truck containing 5,200 liters of LP natural gas exploded when its driver crashed into a post on a Tonala street Tuesday.
Fifteen people were treated for injuries; six of them are reported to be in “serious” condition.
According to a police report, the Gas Express Nieto truck swerved out of control after going over a speed bump. The driver and a colleague managed to escape the vehicle before it burst into flames. The driver then fled the scene and had not been located at press time.
The fireball from the explosion reached 50 meters into the air, witnesses said.
Nine vehicles parked near the scene of the accident were completely destroyed by the flames. Several adjacent buildings suffered damage.
Around 250 people were evacuated from nearby properties, including 87 infants from a kindergarten.
According to doctors at the IMSS Centro Medico, the six people receiving treatment in their specialized burns unit suffered injuries mainly to the face, neck and arms.
Investigators have not determined the cause of the accident but indicated that brake failure may be to blame.
Gas Express said in a statement that it carries out regular maintenance on its entire fleet of vehicles. Jalisco Civil Protection Director Trinidad Lopez Rivas said that over the coming weeks his staff will carry out supplementary inspections of gas trucks in the metropolitan area. “There are many old vehicles being used (to distribute gas) and being driven at speeds as if they were new.”
In addition to paying the medical costs of the injured, Gas Express could face fines of up to three million pesos if found guilty of negligence.