Wasay Ashiq describes explosion and fire in Turkish kebab and pizza shop in Belconnen | Canberra Times

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“If we were five minutes late … I do not think I would be here today.” 15-year-old Wasay Ashiq is investigating the damage to his parents’ store Jazaa Halal Foods in Belconnen. An explosion Monday night has left it decimated. He stands in the place he would normally sit in. It is covered in rubbish, dust and the burned remains of his family’s business. An exploded refrigerator filled with hot soft drinks flickers nearby. The registration certificate of the Turkish kebab and pizza shop has somehow managed to survive the explosion, sitting framed and standing upright on the floor. Wasay walks over to the back of the kebab shop, pointing to a darkened bench. Part of a brick wall is left next to it, and the doors on both sides are blown to pieces. “This is where the fire started, over here. This is where the explosion [happened], “he explains.” And within seconds, the entire building was on fire. “ACT police say they do not know what caused the explosion yet and that they do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances. READ MORE : Man who said he rescued friend from Belconnen fire speaks out Wasay is with his father Mohammad Ikram, big brother Adnan Rao and the owner of the kebab shop.The time is around 7.30pm Monday, they have just closed and are chatting in the parking lot. shop owner realizes he has left something inside. He goes to pick it up and leaves his two young sons in the car. He turns the key to the shop and within seconds the air vibrates and fills with smoke. Flames burst out of the building. Something has exploded. “No less than five seconds, the whole building just blows up … He’s still in the building and the kids are in the car,” Wasay says. The teenager urges his father to save the man and hurries to the car with the two children He says the vehicle late re was destroyed, building debris crushed i.a. t. He calls triple zero. “You could not see anything; there was just smoke, fire everywhere. You do not know what is happening. The first thing my brain just clicks on – he’s still in the building, get him out,” Wasay says. Mohammad pulls his “melting” friend from the blazing store. “Hair completely burnt, arms white when your skin gets burned. His hand, the skins just dangled down on both hands. He was wearing jeans, thick jeans that saved his legs, but they were really hot, hotter than a grill,” Wasay says. “His hair melts, everything burns.” The man is hospitalized, but he is still alive. On Thursday, Wasay helps his father place salvaged equipment in the commercial vehicle. He has not slept for 48 hours, he says. Mohammed pulls bags and collects cans and puts them neatly in the gutter so Wasay can collect them. He is careful not to disturb the fragile infrastructure inside, fearing that what is left of the roof will collapse. He says he had invested about $ 200,000 in the company. IN OTHER NEWS: Wednesday afternoon, he calls NRMA to ask about insurance. He only has basic insurance, the lady says on the phone. It does not cover anything. Mohammed says he has received calls from Canberran residents offering to raise money and donate, but he will not accept any money. “I do not need any charity or anything. I just need the moral support of the community,” he says. He asks the community to follow his business on social media. He will try to sell the stock that has survived online before rebuilding the store. It can take months, even years. Wasay says he does not care about the business. He waves his hand towards the ruins. “Life is more dignified, it’s more special than this,” he says. “We could make 10 more stores after this. It’s life that’s more special.” Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in ACT is free for all to access. However, we rely on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, sign up here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the local community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:



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