‘I saw a flash of fire and it just went black’
A KITCHEN hand heard a massive "boom" and saw a flash of fire, before everything went black at The Red Plate in Airlie Beach.
Moroni Tetai said the day started out like any other at his new workplace, where he had been hired as a kitchen hand barely a week ago.
He had been plating up dishes when an explosion rang out from the fryer, causing a loud bang and flames.
Two women, aged in their 20s and 40s, were injured in the explosion and taken to Proserpine Hospital in a stable condition.
After the explosion, Mr Tetai was frozen to the spot.
"There was no smell of gas before," Mr Tetai said.
"All I heard was the boom.
"I saw a flash of fire and it just went black.
"I couldn't see anything, that's why I stopped."
The roof then began to fall, so Mr Tetai quickly ran out of the kitchen.
He said diners fled the restaurant, but some also went into the kitchen to see if they could help the two injured women.
No diners were injured, he said.
"The kitchen was on fire for a couple of minutes then (someone from) next door came in with a fire extinguisher," Mr Tetai said.
Emergency services were called to the scene after the explosion, which occurred about 12.49pm.
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said a woman in her 20s received burns to her head, lower limbs and airway.
A woman in her 40s suffered burns to her lower abdomen and legs.
Mr Tetai was not injured in the explosion, but he said he was concerned about the two women who were injured in the incident.
Whitsunday Police Sergeant Gary Hiles said the exact cause of the incident was unknown, but inquires were being made in relation to gas.
Police investigations are continuing.