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Two injured in house blast

Two men were injured today when an explosion destroyed a house.

The incident - believed to have been caused by gas cylinders - happened at about 4.30am in Barnstaple, north Devon, police said.

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.

The injured men were initially taken to North Devon District Hospital but have now been transferred to Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

Their condition is not known, but the hospital has a specialist burns and plastic surgery unit.

Trinity Street, Litchdon Street and Higher Church Street in the town centre were closed.

Police said residents would be allowed back once the area has been deemed safe.

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: "Affected residents are being housed in a nearby residential home for the time being.

"The scene is still being assessed and residents will be allowed back in to the streets once the area has been deemed safe.

"Police and fire examiners are still investigating the scene to determine the cause of the explosion.

"At this time police believe that the explosion is linked to gas cylinders at the property."

The two men have undergone surgery and remain in hospital in Swansea, police said.

"The extent of their injuries is not known," a force spokesman said.

"Trinity Street will remain closed throughout the night but the neighbouring roads, including Litchdon Street and Higher Church Street, are open and residents have been able to return to their properties.

"Investigations into the cause of the explosion continue."