Two men have died and several more have been injured in an explosion at the Morley Galleria shopping centre in Perth’s north-east.
It is believed a power transformer exploded just after 9:30am.
One man died at the scene and three others with serious burns injuries were taken to Royal Perth Hospital.
One of those has since died.
Another person was taken to the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre due to smoke inhalation.
Six others were hurt but their injuries were not considered life-threatening and they were treated at the scene.
A spokesman for St John Ambulance said some of the injured were electrical contractors inside a Woolworths store.
A woman who was trying to assist the injured suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
Several other people were treated for shock and smoke inhalation at the scene.
A spokeswoman for Woolworths said the explosion did not occur in the Woolworths stores or areas managed by Woolworths.
However the store was evacuated.
“Our thoughts are with those injured as well as with the family and friends,” she said.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has cordoned off the scene.
EnergySafe and WorkSafe are investigating the incident.
Witness’ tried to help
Witness Jonathan McDonagh was among several people who tried to help the injured, taking off his shirt and using it to put out the flames.
He described the scene as horrific, panicked and rushed.
“I came driving in and saw three people come running out … they were on fire,” Mr McDonagh said.
“I had the radio on and didn’t hear the bang, but I saw a puff of smoke.
“One fella was dead on the ground. I saw another moving around, obviously not OK.
“I gave him a good helping hand, as much as I could.
“They were really burnt badly.”
Meanwhile Harry Barugh said he was walking near the shopping centre when the incident happened.
“I thought a car had exploded, petrol … but it was a lot worse than that, it was the worst sight I had seen in my entire life,” he said.
“It was just ‘whoosh’ and then there were these guys just coming out and hitting the deck and then ripping their gear off.”
Investigation into cause underway
Police Inspector Rob Harrison said the exact cause of the incident had not been established but the injured people had been working in an area near an electrical transformer.
“We believe that they possibly were workers who were working within that transformer area of the shopping centre,” Insp Harrison said.
He said police would be working with WorkSafe and EnergySafety to determine the cause and a report would be prepared for the coroner.
Electrical company High Energy Service said some of its workers were on site completing maintenance work this morning, but could not confirm if any had been injured in the incident.
Federation Centres, which operates the Galleria, described the incident as tragic.
Managing director Stephen Beer said part of the centre would remain closed while investigations were completed.
“We are focussed on doing all that we can to assist emergency services and as such we are unable at this stage to comment any further,” Mr Beer said.
“Our thoughts are very much with those involved and their families at this time.”
He said regular maintenance work was being done at the time of the incident and it was not related to power outages caused by electrical storms across Perth on Monday.
– with AAP and ABC