A man is lucky to be alive today after hero builders pulled him to safety when his Sheffield home exploded into flames.
Neighbours said nearby construction workers rescued the man after flames ripped through his home on Whinacre Walk, Batemoor.
The fire came just hours after a man died in a blaze in Manor Park Road, Manor on Tuesday evening. Neighbours told The Star that they heard a loud bang, before seeing smoke and flames burst through the roof and upstairs windows of the house.
The man, believed to be aged in his 50s, was rescued from the property and taken to hospital suffering with smoke inhalation.
A dog, two rabbits and two turtles were also rescued – but snakes and lizards are believed to have died in the fire.
A woman who also lives in the house was in hospital at the time of the blaze at about 10.45am yesterday.
Firefighters and police cordoned off the property and evacuated several neighbouring homes.
Donna Gibson, 44, who lives across from the house, said: “I was watching television and heard a loud explosion – it was a huge bang and made me jump.
“They are doing work on the flats nearby, so I thought the noise was from there.
“I looked out and there was just all this smoke and flames. You couldn’t see anything.
“The builders saw the flames and they rushed up and got the man and his dog out.”
Her partner Martin Jackson, 46, said: “It was such a loud explosion. I called 999 and they said they had already had 30 calls about it.
“No-one knows what caused it. They had oxygen bottles upstairs and had just had their heating replaced.
“Apparently they also kept some spiders and snakes in rooms upstairs.”
Star reader Dennis Ashton caught an incredible image of the blaze as fire crews fought the flames at about 10.45am yesterday.
He said: “The fire took hold in the upstairs of the terraced house. The burning house seems to have been totally destroyed. I saw smoke coming from the upstairs windows of the house.
“I ran home for my phone. By the time I had rung 999, flames had burst from the upstairs windows.
“At the height of the fire, there was a loud explosion. This explosion was heard by friends a couple of miles away.
“Local people said that the house owner had oxygen cylinders in the house to help her cope with breathing difficulties.
“The emergency services attended quickly and firemen tackled the blaze.”
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