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Man fights for life after house blast

A man was fighting for his life today after a suspected gas explosion destroyed a house.

He has undergone surgery at Morriston Hospital in Swansea after the incident shortly before 4.30am yesterday in Barnstaple, north Devon.

Another man, who was also rescued from the house, also remains at the same hospital where he is in a stable condition.

The explosion in Trinity Street was so powerful that debris was found in a town square nearly 1,000ft away.

The walls were blown out and the roof blown off the house.

A cordon was set up at the scene, nearby buildings evacuated and people moved to safety.

Fire examiners and police are investigating the cause of the explosion but it is thought to be linked to gas cylinders stored at the house.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: "At this time police believe that the explosion is linked to gas cylinders at the property.

"The two men injured in the explosion remain in hospital in Swansea.

"One of them is in a stable condition with non life threatening injuries and the other remains in a critical condition."

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said they were investigating whether the explosion was deliberate.

"One line of inquiry will centre on whether the cause of the explosion was non-accidental," a spokesman said.

"In respect of this police will speak to the two injured men once they are well enough.

"While the police investigation continues, the scene of the explosion is being treated as a crime scene."