Blast reduces scrap metal shop to rubble

By Norman Palihawadana and Nalin Hendurugoda

A scrap metal shop at Suduwella, Madampe was reduced to rubble in an explosion that occurred inside it yesterday morning.

Although the 10x12 foot shop was destroyed in the blast, only one worker sustained serious injuries. He was admitted to the Chilaw Hospital.

Madampe police recovered 15 mortar pieces from the scrap metal yard soon after the explosion. They had been lying there with other scrap metal for about one and a half years. Yesterday around 10:00 a.m. a worker was cutting one of the mortar shells when it exploded, according to the police.According to unconfirmed reports what exploded was part of a T-81 mortar.

Police sources said there said the worker had started cutting discarded mortar shell parts due to a shortage of scrap iron. They had been supplying scrap iron to a nearby smelter.

The police described the condition of injured worker Charith Madushanka as serious. He is warded in the intensive care unit of the hospital

The scrap metal stock had been brought there from the north after the conclusion of the war.

According to the police the scrap metal dealer had not been present yesterday when the explosion occurred. It was not clear why the authorities had allowed such lethal material to be handled by scrap metal dealers, a senior police officer said. Asked whether the scrap metal dealer, who owned the business, had been arrested, he answered in the negative.

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