UK

Locals pull resident from ‘gas blast’ house

The explosion happened at lunchtime in Kirkland Walk, Middlesbrough.

The scene of a suspected gas explosion in Kirkland Walk, Middlesbrough
The scene of a suspected gas explosion in Kirkland Walk, Middlesbrough (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Locals pulled a man from the rubble after he was badly injured in a suspected gas explosion which destroyed his home, a neighbour has said.

The seriously burned resident was flown to hospital following the blast, which happened at around 12.40pm on Tuesday in Kirkland Walk, Middlesbrough.

Residents in the square, as well as neighbouring streets, have been told they cannot go back to their homes following the explosion, which wrecked the house and badly damaged others.

The scene of a suspected gas explosion at a property near Frampton Green in Middlesbrough
The scene of a suspected gas explosion at a property near Frampton Green in Middlesbrough (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Michael Clark, who lives with his wife in Kirkland Walk, told the PA news agency: “Three lads went in and pulled him out of the rubble.

“They didn’t hesitate, they went straight in, they were worried there was going to be another explosion.

“The man was screaming in the rubble.

“The man looked terrible when they brought him out.”

The 69-year-old added: “All his clothes were stuck to him and they looked like rags.

“His hair was all burned, everything, from top to bottom.”

Mr Clark said the neighbouring house to the explosion has lost a bedroom and other homes’ roofs were badly damaged.

Michelle Garner, 51, who lives in a nearby street with her French bulldog Titan, has also been told she cannot go home yet.

She said: “The whole house was shaking.

“I jumped up and opened the front door and saw all the smoke and everyone was moving around and there was no house left.”

Ms Garner and Mr Clark estimated that around 50 homes could have been evacuated, possibly affecting more than 100 people.

They have been told they can gather at a local primary school.

An air ambulance took the man to hospital after landing on a nearby green.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service said: “Our team activated at 12.46pm to an incident in Middlesbrough.

“We had two doctors and two paramedics respond to the scene and they worked alongside the North East Ambulance Service to assess and treat a patient.

“The patient is being airlifted to hospital.”

The scene of a suspected gas explosion at a property in Middlesbrough
The scene of a suspected gas explosion at a property in Middlesbrough (Owen Humphreys/PA)

A Cleveland Police spokesperson urged members of the public to avoid the area while they worked with Cleveland Fire Brigade and North East Ambulance Service at the scene.

“We thank local residents for their patience as we continue to deal with this incident,” they said.

A large cordon was in place at the scene where there were at least three ambulances, four fire engines and five gas engineers’ vans.

Local residents, including children who had finished school for the day, gathered at the cordon to watch the emergency services response.