Huge gas explosion shakes homes in Kent ‘like an earthquake’

Two people were injured in the blast in Whitstable

Harry Cockburn
Saturday 28 May 2016 12:12
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Whistable gas explosion May 2016

Two people were injured after a massive gas explosion set off a fire and shook houses in Kent "like an earthquake".

Fire crews worked through the night to control the blaze at Estuary Business Park in Whitstable, which erupted after the explosion at about 10pm on Friday.

A man was taken to hospital and another was treated by paramedics who went to the scene along with more than a dozen emergency services vehicles and a fleet of Southern Gas Networks vans.

At the time of the blast, gas engineers were working on damage to a main pipe in the area.

A spokesman for Kent Police said the injuries to the two men were "not described as being serious".

Whitstable resident Stephanie Harris, 23, told the Evening Standard: “I live up the road opposite where the fire was. I first noticed it when there was a huge bang, which shook the house.

“When I looked out my window I saw the reflection of it in house windows and ran outside to see if a house was on fire. Luckily it was the road not a house.

"It was incredibly loud, felt like an earthquake for a few seconds, but it very quickly became clear it was an explosion.”

And Polly Wann wrote on Twitter: “Gas main on fire at estuary view #Whitstable. We are a mile away and the sky is lit up.”

A spokesman for Kent Fire and Rescue said: “Crews continued to keep the fire under control through the night and cooled the surrounding boundary using main jets and ground monitors.

“Southern Gas Networks isolated the gas main by 2.45am and fire was extinguished. Duty of care was handed over to the lead engineer, at which time crews left the scene."

Southern Gas Networks said: "We were called out to Old Thanet Way in Whitstable yesterday afternoon, after a medium pressure gas main was damaged by a third party.

"Our engineers were undertaking a repair on behalf of GTC Pipelines who own the pipeline, when the gas ignited causing a fire.

“Our teams have been working throughout the night to assess the damage and are preparing to repair the gas main.

"Meanwhile for safety reasons, engineers have also been visiting affected properties to turn off gas supplies at the meter.

"We've currently turned off supplies to around 430 properties and will continue to visit the remaining properties this morning.”

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