Penang flat blows up as man lights up cigarette

What the apartment looks like after the cooking gas explosion. (Fire Department pic)

GEORGE TOWN: An early morning puff on a cigarette is believed to have caused a blast that caused extensive damage to an apartment in Paya Terubong here.

The lighted cigarette is believed to have ignited gas that had leaked from a cooking gas cylinder.

The smoker, aged 62, suffered 80% burns and was hurled onto a wall by the force of the explosion at 8.15am. He is in serious condition at the Penang Hospital.

The blast on the 20th floor also destroyed the wall separating his apartment from the adjoining one.

A view of the damage in the kitchen area.

The man’s son, daughter-in-law and grandchild were unhurt as they were in another room at the time. The neighbours were also unhurt.

Photos taken at the scene showed the gas cylinder and furniture in the home to be intact. Only certain portions were in rubble.

Another view of the damaged apartment from a neighbouring unit. (Fire Department pic)

Northeast district police chief Che Zaimani Che Awang said investigators found a leak from the gas regulator of the 14kg cylinder.

SAFETY TIPS: According to national petroleum company Petronas, gas regulators must be changed every five years and hoses replaced every two years. Checks for leaks can be made by removing the hose head and testing the cylinder opening with soapy water. Bubbles will indicate a leak. Petronas also recommends switching off the gas supply when not in use by disconnecting the regulator from the LPG cylinder altogether.