Fire investigators believe the powerful flash on her camera ignited the explosion.
Fire investigators believe the powerful flash on her camera ignited the explosion. Trevor Veale

Camera flash believed to be cause of powerful gas explosion

FIRE investigators believe a camera flash could have sparked a powerful gas explosion that has left a Sunshine Coast woman with burns to her face.

In what appears to be a rare and almost freakish accident, a woman taking photos on an SLR camera walked into a gas cloud created by a leaking cylinder on an outdoor barbecue.

Fire investigators believe the powerful flash on her camera ignited the explosion.

The 35-year-old suffered burns to her face and arms and was rushed to Nambour General Hospital for treatment.

Caloundra area commander Jon Webb said the woman and her husband had recently finished building the house for someone else and were photographing their finished product.

The barbecue was specially designed and installed for the outdoor space on the veranda and Mr Webb believes gas was fed through hosing from a central cylinder.

"The lady was taking photos of the home because it was just finished and she must have been standing in a gas cloud or near the cloud and when she was taking the photos it has ignited, causing the explosion," Mr Webb said.

"It is possible the gas leaked over time and has filled the space and that's when explosions can happen.

"This is very rare, but we are not treating this as suspicious, just a terrible accident. The force of the explosion would have been extremely loud and powerful and would have been frightening.

"This is a reminder that if you ever do smell gas, that you call the authorities.

"Regular checks of cylinders to make sure that they are not past their used-by date are really important.

"Always check hose fittings and barbecues to make sure cylinders or hoses haven't perished in the heat."

Firefighters were unable to explain yesterday how the flash may have caused the explosion, however they indicated it was a similar principle to mobile phones causing explosions at petrol stations. Fire investigators and the Department of Natural Resources and Mines are investigating the incident.


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