The child suffered lacerations to the head and was taken to Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick along with her mother for treatment while three adults were taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and two to St Vincent’s Hospital.
A NSW Ambulance spokesman said 16 people in total received treatment for lacerations and burns with the seven more serious cases requiring further medical treatment at hospital.
The busy restaurant district of Chinatown was rocked when a gas main exploded as 100 people dined at the Dixon House Food Court on Little Hay St at 7.40pm.
The child taken to the children’s hospital was struck by flying metal as the force of the explosion blew out a roller door.
Emergency services spent hours trying to render the building safe, before eventually turning off the gas main about 11pm.
“We treated 16 people and we transported seven to hospital,” NSW Ambulance Inspector Brian Lakin said.
“They were all inside the building, I believe there’s a food court underneath. The leak has not been contained yet, that’s why we’re still here.
“While ever the senses are reading gas, we’re here.
“The gas company is also on scene ... There’s a reasonably large exclusion zone.”
Dozens of emergency service vehicles rushed to the scene, establishing a makeshift triage centre to tend to the injured, as the crowd fled the building.
Fire and Rescue NSW crews used Hazmat units to clear the building. Drivers were also forced to abandon their cars in the nearby Sussex Centre car park with Sussex St completely shut between Goulburn and Hay St and more than 200 people were forced out of surrounding buildings. “The fire did not spread throughout the building and was contained by sprinklers and the roller door,” a Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman said.
“The gas company was able to isolate the line and we do not believe it has spread to any other levels.
“There is no structural damage to the building or any other surrounding buildings.”
Fire and Rescue crews were expected to work through the night to make sure there are no further leaks in the building as a result of the earlier blast.
Samuel Lopez said he was in the bathroom when the explosion went off and thought it was a terrorist attack.
“I saw the blast less than 15 metres away from me. After the blast I ducked and covered myself behind a register stand as the first thing that it came to my head was a terrorist attack. So I needed to know if there was something else happening like a shooter; then everybody started screaming and running away,” he said on Facebook.
“I saw no other threats around and I joined the crowd.”
Another witness said they saw the gas explosion from 20 metres away and saw people bleeding.
Karen He, 28, who was in a building next to Dixon House said the gas explosion sounded like thunder.
“My friend and I thought it was a storm or something and did not think too much of it at the time,” Ms He said.
“Then we saw the smoke coming out from the building and then we were worried. But it just sounded like Thunder.”
Ms He said she was only able to leave the nearby building two hours after the explosion.
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