Company owner: Cause of gas train explosion in Bulgaria’s Hitrino village not clear

It is not clear how the tanker in the middle of the train exploded, the owner of the Bulmarket company said on December 10, commenting on the devastating blast near the railway station in Bulgaria’s Hitrino village, that left at least five people dead and dozens injured.

The explosion was reported to have happened as the train derailed some time after 5.30am on December 10. The blast not only caused deaths and injuries but also flattened the railway station and about 20 houses and caused a large fire.

Speaking to local media, Stanko Stankov, owner of Bulmarket, operator of the gas transport train that had been en route from Bourgas to Romania via Rousse, was quoted as saying that it was possible that the switchman may have seen sparks from the locomotive but it was not clear how the gas tank in the middle of the train had exploded.

Stankov went to Hitrino but was not allowed at the scene of the blast, the report said.

Both train drivers had survived and would give evidence, he said.

He said that the company had been transporting dangerous goods for 10 years and knew the rules and the procedures and had a safety system.

Stankov said that the gas transport tanks were the property of a Romanian company and were very sturdy.

Before being included in a train, each tank underwent checks, he said.

According to its website, Bulmarket owns a multifunctional terminal, the only of its kind in Bulgaria including three modes of transport – rail, road and water-related pipeline infrastructure, a warehouse and three pumping – compressor stations.

The terminal is capable of processing 10 000 tons of gas a month.

The company had the capacity for 6500 cubic metres of gas storage. It was in the process of building a second warehouse with a capacity of 4000 cubic metres, the company’s website said.

Part of the company’s sales of gas take place through a chain of its own gas stations in 10 different cities.

Since 2002, it has used a port terminal, unique in the lower reaches of the Danube River. Currently, it was refurbishing a river and sea vessel into a gas transporter capable of transporting 1100 tons.

The company was looking into acquiring further LPG tankers, the website said. The company also had a repository for diesel and was one of the main distributors of diesel and eurodiesel in the region.




The Sofia Globe staff

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