A man cheated death by seconds but suffered burns to his face when his house was ripped apart by a violent explosion in Sheffield.
The man had just closed the front door of his home on Dundas Road, Tinsley, when the property was destroyed with an ‘almighty bang’ that shook the street like an ‘earthquake’.
Neighbour Irfan Fadique, who lives two doors away, said: “I saw my friend shortly after his house exploded - the left side of his face was very badly burnt.
“I was inside my own home when I first heard the bangs and then I could hear screams out on the street.
“When I rushed outside, my friend’s house was basically gone and I could see smoke and debris everywhere.”
A woman and two children, believed to live next door, were taken to hospital with suspected smoke inhalation.
Debris including roof tiles and wall insulation was sent raining down across the street by the blast – believed to be the result of a gas explosion.
Families, some still in their pyjamas, were evacuated to nearby Hinde House School and the road cordoned off for hours.
Ade Robinson, incident commander for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It looks like the resident was leaving the property and the explosion occurred.
“He is in hospital and there are a number of other people injured, I think they were in the property next door.”
Mr Robinson said the man ‘would probably’ have been crushed if he had been inside the house.
He added: “He has had a lucky escape.”
Fire crews put out a small blaze, made the area safe and helped police to evacuate the street.
They remained at the scene to slowly search the rubble of the house last night, with extra urban search and rescue vehicles from West Yorkshire brought in as a precaution.
The gas, electric and water supplies to the street were also switched off while disruption was caused to nearby roads.
Mr Robinson added: “The house is totally destroyed, it is going to have to be demolished as, possibly, is the one next door.
“It has been a really violent explosion which we do normally get with gas, it is a volatile substance.
“That type of explosion does create a hell of a mess.”
Police said inquiries were underway to determine the circumstances surrounding the blast.