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Restaurant owner escapes uninjured from bug blast

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06 Jan 2012
A Lygon Street restaurant owner was lucky to escape uninjured this morning after his pest fumigation attempts caused an explosion.


The man had set 10 ‘bug bombs’ - aerosol fumigation cans - off in the kitchen of the Mercadente Woodfire Pizzeria about 10am. The explosion occurred when the flammable fumes came into contact with a pilot light.


No one was injured in the explosion. Amazingly, two sleeping residents of an accommodation above the restaurant heard the noise and fell back asleep.  They were later evacuated by MFB firefighters as a safety precaution.  The restaurant had been closed at the time for renovations and was due to reopen on January 11.


The shop itself was extensively damaged from the blast, with debris from the front window blown out about two metres, a dozen windows smashed and the awning suffering structural damage.  The two neighbouring businesses were left untouched by the explosion which did not cause any fire damage.


One lane of Lygon Street was closed to northbound traffic between Queensberry and Grattan streets for about two hours. 


Eight MFB firefighters in two pumpers attended the scene from Carlton (FS3) and Eastern Hill (FS1) stations.  MFB Heavy Rescue also attended in case there was need to rescue anyone who might have been trapped but was not required.


MFB Community Resilience Director ACFO Rob Taylor said people using insecticide fumigation bombs should take precautions.


“Aerosols can mix with air in an enclosed space and become a hazard if there is an ignition source, as there was in this case,” said ACFO Taylor.


“Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions explicitly and always ensure all ignition sources such as gas pilot lights are off and electrical equipment including fridges, washing machines and televisions are switched off at the power point. Where ever possible, turn the power off at the switchboard.”

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