Sunderland explosion: Man fighting for life as gas blast turns street into ‘war zone’

One man in critical condition in hospital and another treated for non-life-threatening injuries

Holly Bancroft
Wednesday 16 February 2022 19:32 GMT
A property on Whickham Street, Sunderland has been destroyed in a suspected gas explosion
A property on Whickham Street, Sunderland has been destroyed in a suspected gas explosion (PA)

A man is fighting for his life after a suspected gas explosion tore through a row of flats in Sunderland on Tuesday.

Another man, who was on the street outside at the time of the blast, has miraculously escaped with his life and was taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

The explosion, on Whickham Street, Sunderland, totally destroyed one property and substantially damaged several others.

One man, who is now in a critical condition in hospital, was found inside the wrecked flat after the blast.

Neighbour John Ellis, 43, said that the scene looked like something “out of a war zone”. He added: “The man who lives in the flat which has been destroyed was inside at the time. He was rescued by the fire brigade and is still alive but in hospital.

“I think he was taken away by the air ambulance. How he’s alive, I’ll never know. Luckily, me and my dad were out when it happened. It’s gone through to my home as well. You can see my living room from here with the damage.

“The wall between my home and his is torn down. The back end of the house has completely gone. It’s unbelievable. My cousin lives in the flats opposite and he rang me asking if I was OK and there was a big explosion. Apparently everyone heard the bang.

The aftermath of the explosion left the street looking like a ‘war zone’, residents said (PA)

“We’re going to be rehomed and the whole street might need to be torn down but things inside can be replaced.”

Speaking at the scene yesterday evening, Steve Thomas, group manager at the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, added: “It’s pretty incredible and unusual. We were called to a suspected gas blast just before 4pm today.

“As you can see from the scene behind me, it’s quite a serious blast.

“The building is in a fair state of disrepair now.”

Both the front and rear walls are missing from the flat which was the most badly damaged in the blast and all the roof tiles were also blown off. (PA)

Paramedics were able to provide emergency medical attention to the man inside the ruined building.

“One gentleman was found outside the premise with blast injuries and the other one was upstairs on the first floor again suffering with blast injuries,” Mr Thomas said.

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