In the wake of the tremendous explosion which rocked Cul-de-Sac, the north of Saint Lucia, and the psyche of Saint Lucians at home and abroad, the burning question being asked by many is how such a disaster could happen.
Notwithstanding the sympathy which has poured out to the victims and their families, many are demanding a thorough investigation into the actions which eventually led to the massive explosion which took lives and has left a nation traumatized.
The irony of it all is the location where this explosion occurred – a quarry. It would be expected that the most stringent safety precautions would be in effect since everyone at the site knows explosives are in close proximity. Workers adequately trained in the use and safety procedures associated with such an environment must certainly be mandatory by any stretch of the imagination.
Procedures for the transport, handling, and use of dynamite are clearly defined the world over and can only be expected to be the same in Saint Lucia.
According to numerous reports, welding of a container containing explosives was underway when the contents ignited causing the explosion which turned the entire area into what looked like a war zone.
Photos taken in the aftermath of the disaster show twisted vehicles with numerous holes evidently caused by shrapnel which would have also torn through the bodies of those on the scene.
Many citizens were traumatized at the time of the blast as it was heard and felt as far north as Balata and Babonneau and as far south as Anse-la-Raye. The shockwave which immediately followed the blast is blamed for damage to numerous buildings for miles around.
A video from a witness who was near the Hess Oil Terminal shows a plume of smoke billowing hundreds of feet into the air over the quarry.
Reports of victims missing limbs and other body parts have been heard and at least four are awaiting a military aircraft from Martinique where they will be flown for urgent medical attention.
The Prime Mnister has said an investigation is underway. Undoubtedly the people await the outcome as many burning questions are still unanswered.
Were established safety procedures being observed? Were staff adequately trained? Was the quantity of explosives on the premises authorized to be at that location? Were the necessary safety measures in place at the time? Was the container or shed containing explosives clearly marked in the required manner? Did the workers know they were working with explosives in close proximity?
Many troubling accounts from persons who were on the scene have been reported and should be thoroughly investigated!
Meanwhile, no official comment has yet been made by the company.