Safety review call as three escape gas blast

Labour called for a review of gas safety tonight after three people had a miracle escape when an explosion tore through a semi-detached house.

Nigel Griffiths MP, Opposition consumer affairs spokesman, accused British Gas of putting profits before safety and demanded that the Government set up an independent gas safety committee.

James Ross, 82, his wife Margaret, also 82 and their 38-year-old daughter Elizabeth, narrowly escaped death when the blast rocked their two-bedroomed house in Bruce Gardens, Inverness, early today.

Mr Ross was making toast when the blast blew off roof tiles, cracked the walls and shifted the roof. He was detained in Raigmore Hospital tonight although his injuries are not serious.

His wife and daughter were released after treatment for shock.

Mr Griffiths said Mr Ross's son-in-law reported the smell of gas in the house at 4pm on Tuesday and was told by British Gas that someone would attend within an hour.

Mr Ross waited all evening and part of the night but no-one turned up, he said. British Gas denies receiving any call.

"It's a miracle that they survived," said Mr Griffiths. "Public confidence in British Gas is at an all-time low. We need an independent committee to ensure that the public is being protected and that profits are not being put before safety."