Victoria

Footscray explosion: One dead, one injured after truck collides with cars and explodes

A man is dead and a woman injured after a truck collided with five cars and exploded in a horrific accident in Footscray, causing chaotic scenes in Melbourne's inner west.

The truck was carrying gas bottles and exploded on the corner of Barkly and Gordon streets, near Whitten Oval, just before noon on Tuesday. 

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Witnesses recount deadly 'explosion' in Footcray

Onlookers say the force of the explosion blew out the windows of a house and surrounding cars after a truck carrying gas bottles crashed on the corner of Barkly and Gordon Street in Footscray. (Vision courtesy ABC News 24)

The truck driver, aged in his 20s, was killed.

The force of the blast brought down two live power lines, blew out the windows of nearby houses, and caused the roof of a nearby building to collapse.

Acting Inspector Nigel L'Estrange said it appeared an explosion happened before the truck crashed.

"It's one vehicle that the explosion has occurred in," he said

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"It has impacted on a couple of other vehicles that were nearby, with a couple of injuries there as well.

"The explosion we believe has occurred prior to the collision."

Debris littered the road, as MFB and police cordoned off the intersection.

A woman in her 30s, who was a pedestrian, was treated by paramedics and taken to Western Hospital in a stable condition, an Ambulance Victoria spokesperson said.

Four other people were assessed at the scene by paramedics but none needed to be taken to hospital.

Investigators were still determining the cause of the explosion, but it was believed the truck was carrying oxyacetylene canisters, police said.

Onlookers were moved away and nearby residents were evacuated as a precaution, amid fears there could be further gas explosions. 

Barkly Street was closed to traffic, with police urging people to avoid the area.

The intersection reopened late on Tuesday evening.

A KFC fast-food restaurant directly in front of the accident was evacuated.

The sound of the blast was heard as far away as Highpoint Shopping Centre, nearly three kilometres away.

Staff at the Plough Hotel, about 100 metres from the crash, said they heard a massive blast, with glass and debris strewn across the intersection.

Russell Bannister was in his bedroom when the truck crashed through his front fence.

"It felt like a bomb going off," he said. 

The Barkly Street resident said the explosion blew out the windows of his house and surrounding cars. 

Mr Bannister said a witness told him the truck had gone through a red light. 

"There was fuel leaking all over the ground so we thought we better take a step back because the power lines were down."

Witness Sudi Mohamed was breastfeeding her baby when she heard the explosion, and came out of her house to find pedestrians in shock and people getting out of their cars.

Speaking through tears, she said there was "mess everywhere", and gas bottles still on the road.

"Some of them were exploding," she said. 

Barkly Street resident Timothy Menzel said the force of the explosion nearly threw him from his chair.

"I nearly rocked off my seat," he said, "It was a huge explosion."

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