Six hurt as gas blast destroys Gateshead home

 

A suspected gas explosion injured six people, including three police officers.

One of the officers suffered serious burns to his face in the blast which ripped the roof and front off the single-storey home.

The six, who also included a paramedic, a gas engineer and the elderly occupant of the house, were treated in hospital after the explosion shortly before 5.30pm yesterday.

Debris from the blast, including glass, roofing materials and the man's curtains, was thrown up for 60ft on to a green in front of the property above the River Tyne in Marian Court, Gateshead.

The Health and Safety Executive was leading an investigation into the explosion, Northumbria Police said.

Superintendent Dave Byrne said: "The house has been completely destroyed.

"It has been a sizeable force that has caused the damage."

Officers were met with a strong smell of gas when they arrived, he said, after concerns were raised for the safety of the man in the house.

Police were attending with an engineer and paramedics were on stand-by after a strong smell of gas was reported in the area.

The elderly occupant of the house was being led away by a paramedic wearing protective gear when the blast occurred.

The paramedic shielded the pensioner from the worst of the blast force, a North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) spokesman said.

Three police officers who had got the man out of the small property were hit by the explosion, as was a gas engineer.

All six were taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for treatment.

The NEAS spokesman said: "There were three police officers injured, two of whom have burns to the head and forearms, and one of them has more severe burns to his face and is in a more serious condition.

"The gas engineer had minor burns."

The officers, paramedic, engineer and elderly resident were taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for treatment.

Northumbria Police said the injuries were not life-threatening and the injured officers' families have been informed.

Mr Byrne could not be sure yet where the officers were when the explosion happened.

He said the officers were trained to deal with hazardous situations and members of the public should call the emergency services in similar circumstances.

One resident walking his dog said yesterday: "You cannot believe people have survived that.

"The roof's gone and there's debris everywhere."

The injured paramedic was a member of the hazardous area response team who was trained to deal with non-standard 999 calls.

"It's never nice when one of our own is injured and we are obviously thinking about him," the ambulance spokesman said.

"Quite clearly, his quick actions in evacuating people from the property, and the fact he was wearing protective equipment which allowed him to shield this man from the full force of the blast, have helped lessen the injuries that could have occurred."

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "The Health and Safety Executive have now been informed and will take the lead in this investigation."

There was no fault with the local supply leading up to the explosion, Northern Gas Networks said.

The firm, which operates the gas emergency service for the north east of England, northern Cumbria and most of Yorkshire, said: "Our engineers isolated the gas supply to the properties affected by the gas explosion in Gateshead earlier this evening and have made the area safe.

"We can confirm that the explosion was not the result of any issue with the local gas network.

"We will continue to work with the police as they carry out an investigation."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£35-45K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer / Web ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Accountant

£12000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A national firm of chartered ce...

Recruitment Genius: Full Time and Part Time Digital Designer - North Kent

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful web design/deve...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders