Belfast Telegraph

We feared it was bomb attack, says staff after exploding gas cylinder crashes through office

By Rebecca Black

A worker at an engineering firm in Mallusk has told of how he feared they had come under a pipe-bomb attack as an out-of-control gas cylinder smashed through his office.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said three workers had a "very, very lucky escape" after receiving minor injuries.

The incident was sparked by an explosion at the T-Met recycling plant following an incident involving a digger and a gas cylinder.

The cylinder is believed to have flown across the yard on the Trench Road in Mallusk at around 10am yesterday before crashing through the window of an office at neighbouring engineering firm William Coates.

Ryan Scott, health and safety manager at William Coates, said that staff were extremely shaken by what had happened and initially thought they were under attack.

Three workers were injured with what Mr Scott described as "walking wounded" injuries, while the remainder were left shaken by the incident.

He said there were around six workers in the office at 9.55am when the incident happened.

"We heard the explosion and then about five seconds later a projectile came through the window," Mr Scott told the Belfast Telegraph.

"There was a girl sitting with her back to the window, it flew in, just missing her, then there was a guy sitting opposite her. The missile hit the floor, smashed through his desk, and hit the back wall.

"It's the last thing you would expect on a Tuesday morning, we thought initially it was an attack like a pipe-bomb or something."

Businesses in the area were evacuated for around an hour while the incident was investigated.

It is understood that another part of the missile was discovered in the ground of a pub across the road.

Northern Ireland Ambulance Service spokesman John McPoland said he understood a digger may have driven over a gas cylinder.

He said the cylinder flew around 150 yards through the air and smashed through the window of an office landing on a desk.

"Three people had a very, very lucky escape," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

Two workers were taken to hospital while a third was treated by paramedics on site.

A police spokesman said there were reports of several casualties in the incident.

A representative from T-Met told the Belfast Telegraph yesterday that the company was not making any public comment.

A Northern Ireland Health & Safety Executive spokesman said it was investigating.

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