KOTA BARU - Eleven people eating at a popular rest and recreation area near a petrol station suffered burns after fuel being unloaded to the underground container at a petrol station in Gua Musang leaked and caught fire.
The blaze occurred at 10.10pm on Wednesday while people were eating at the popular R&R stop which was adjacent to the station.
It is believed that some of the fuel leaked from the hose during the transfer. The fuel then flowed down an incline from the station, which was located on higher ground, towards the stalls before an explosion occurred seconds later.
Many patrons ran for their lives while some were seriously burnt. Other than the foodstalls, the fire also destroyed four cars and three motorcycles parked nearby.
Police said workers were transferring petrol from the tanker into an underground storage bunker at the petrol station at Dataran Shell, Jalan Persiaran Raya, during the incident.
Gua Musang police chief Supt Saiful Bahari Abdullah said the explosion could have come from a cooking gas tank at the stalls.
The injured were five women - Nor Azila Amira, 23, Nor Marisah Mohd Yusof, 20, Nor Asyikin Mohd Salleh, 20, Dayang Nor Ilyani, 23 and Siti Zabariah Idris, 53.
The men were Muhammad Azman Hamat, 18, Mohd Zul Idzhar Akmal,16, Mohd Shair Hafizi, 24, Tengku Ahmad Afqih Tg Abdullah, 20, Mohd Quizuel Hakim Bahri, 20, and Mohd Fariz Ikhwan, 25.
Nor Marisah, Muhammad Azman and Tengku Ahmad Afqih were transferred to the Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital in Kota Baru.
Stallowner Mohd Fahmi Mohd Nasir, 27, said he heard a loud explosion and saw some of his customers in flames while cars parked in front were burnt.
"It happened so fast and I could only run away as fast as I could," he added.
Machang Zone 2 fire chief Che Rusli Sulaiman said 10 firemen in two fire-engines took 10 minutes to put out the fire.
Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital media officer Zaid Ahmad said Muhamad Azman and Tengku Ahmad Afqih suffered serious burns and are in critical condition.