Belconnen shop owner Mohammad Ikram tore burning clothes off his friend following an explosion at the Turkish Kebab and Pizza shop in Rae Street on Monday night (28 December).
Mr Ikram had closed his shop, Jazaa Halal Foods, and was in the car park when the explosion occurred.
He says he has “been in shock” since the incident.
“Minutes before the explosion I had closed up my shop, and I saw that my friend – the owner of the kebab shop next door – had come to clean his shop because they planned on opening up in a few days,” Mr Ikram said.
“He was leaving at the same time as me, and he left to go back inside and said he forgot something.
“I walked back to my car, and seconds later, the entire shop exploded and we were in shock and disbelief.”
Mr Ikram said he ran to his friend’s shop to help him.
“He was walking out with his upper half of the body and clothes on fire, and I could see that his stomach was bleeding,” he said.
“I ran to grab him and took his clothes off him.”
The victim’s wife was watching, and his children were in the car park as bystanders began first aid.
“I ran to the car and got his kids out, then I tried looking for a hose or fire extinguisher wanting to take out the fire but I couldn’t find anything,” Mr Ikram said.
According to ACT Fire and Rescue, the shop owner was taken to hospital with non-critical injuries. Police are investigating the cause of the explosion.
Mr Ikram says he is “feeling overwhelmed and shocked” by the incident.
“I never thought I would have to experience something so traumatic in my life,” he added.
Mr Ikram and his wife Sumaira hope to reopen their shop as soon as possible, but in the meantime, they have asked their customers to “keep us in their prayers”.
In addition to destroying the kebab shop and Jazaa Halal Foods, several other shops in the area have been severely damaged and shopfront glass has been shattered more than 100 metres away.
Anyone who witnessed the explosion who has not yet talked to police is asked to contact ACT Policing Operations on 131444. Quote reference number P2042617.