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Gas explosion destroys four houses and leaves 15 injured

A survivor spoke of the horrific explosion which flattened four houses and injured 15 people when a suspected gas blast tore through his home.

Leon Barker said that he was getting ready for work yesterday when the blast ripped through the terraced house he shares with his wife and three children in Merlin Road, Salford, Greater Manchester. Mr Barker said: "I wouldn't wish this on anyone – having to dig out my children."

Neighbours described a "massive booming noise" at about 7.15am – the sound could be heard up to five miles away. Investigators believe that the source of the explosion was the kitchen of an 82-year-old woman who is being treated in hospital for 30 per cent burns. She is currently in a critical but stable condition. More than 40 firefighters attended the blast and 200 homes were evacuated.

City West Housing Trust, which owns the homes, said that the gas supply was reconnected on Monday. Fire crews said that they were "amazed" that more people weren't seriously injured.