Around a hundred people, including members of the victim’s families, residents, and firemen, paid tribute to the victims of the Ghislenghien explosion. The tribute took place at 8.56, the exact time a gas line exploded and killed 24 people on the 30th of July 2004. 132 others were injured.
Those that attended meet in front of the ‘Remembrance garden’, in the centre of the Ghislenghien estate. 12 years ago, a gas line exploded in the Ghislenghien industrial estate, near Ath in Hainaut. There were 150 casualties, mostly employees and fireman. It was the most deadly industrial accident in Belgium, after the Bois du Cazier accident in 1956.
The explosion took the fire department by surprise. They had been called to the scene a little while before because someone smelt gas. They were setting up a safety perimeter at the time. Two hours after the explosion, it was discovered that it was caused by a gas line between Zeebrugge and the north of France being pierced during building work. Diamant Boart was moving onto the site. The line, managed by the natural gas transporter Fluxys, was damaged during terracing work performed a few weeks before. The industrial estate commemorates the accident every year.