AT least three people were killed following a blast that rocked a quarry owned by the R.G. Group of Companies on Tuesday afternoon.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merlene Frederick, at a press conference yesterday confirmed that four other people from the explosion were in serious but stable condition at hospital and that 21 people were treated for various injuries.
Four people had to be flown to neighbouring Martinique in critical condition hours after their admittance at Victoria Hospital.
The injured from the explosion were transported to hospital via private transportation and the enormity of the disaster unfolded, hospital management summoned all doctors, nurses and ancillary staff to report to duty.
Nine other patients walked into the hospital yesterday morning complaining of various injuries from the explosion and four more in the afternoon.
There has been no official word on the cause of the explosion which took place at a quarry owned by the company whose head is Rayneau Gajadhar. Investigations to determine the exact cause of the blast are still underway.
The site of the explosion was still heavily guarded by police up to press yesterday and investigations are being carried out by both the police department and the fire service.
R.G. Group of Companies released a statement yesterday, saying it is overwhelmed by the loss of its family and team members.
“The loss of life suffered is immeasurable. We stand in support of all of the grieving families and staff who work directly with those who lost their lives,” noted the statement in part.
It continued: “At this stage, we give our unwavering support and cooperation to the investigators as they assist and support us in finding out the cause of this unfortunate accident. Our main interest at the moment is attending to and working with the nation for the loss of valued souls.
“Our thanks and appreciation go out to the Government of St. Lucia, in particular, Prime Minister Hon. Allen Chastanet and Hon. Guy Joseph, who were present at site and at the hospital. We further extend special thanks to NEMO, St. Lucia Red Cross, St. Lucia Fire Service, the nurses and doctors of Victoria Hospital and Tapion Hospital, all levels of the police hierarchy and RG Group team members, for their swift response and attention. Investigations are ongoing in this matter,” the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, homeowners whose properties sustained structural damages as a result of Tuesday’s incident will have to wait at least next week to file claims as the emphasis is currently on the casualties.
Castries Southeast MP, Guy Joseph, told a caller to an afternoon talk show yesterday to await the outcome of the various investigations that were underway before seeking compensation for damages. Joseph acknowledged that several homes suffered damaged.
One male resident, who lives across the Cul-de-Sac River that separates his home from the explosion site, said the explosion shook his home and left him temporarily deaf in the left ear.
“We are going to get people to address these concerns. I know people will be concerned,” Joseph said, calling on homeowners to give the R.G. Group of Companies time to adjust themselves in the aftermath.