Cracked pipe caused fatal blast that destroyed house in Haxby, York

Aerial view of the house in York which exploded in a gas blast.

Aerial view of the house in York which exploded in a gas blast.

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NO evidence of criminality has been found concerning a gas explosion in North Yorkshire which killed a man.

A joint investigation from North Yorkshire Police, the Health and Safety Executive and Gas Safe Register at the house in Springwood, Haxby near York on February 19 this year found that cracked pipe in the homes gas supply was to blame. No further action will be taken.

A report will be passed to HM Coroner for the inquest into Mr Wilmott’s death, which will be held at a later date.

The cause of the explosion has been established as follows:

-The explosion resulted from the fracture of a gas pipe buried in the property’s concrete floor. This resulted in an uncontrolled gas escape which ignited, causing the explosion.

-The copper pipe was installed when the property was constructed in the early 1970s. Whilst it was not protected in anyway, it was installed in accordance with the standards of the day.

-No evidence was found of recent gas work at the property or interference with the pipe that could have affected its integrity.

-The pipe showed evidence of corrosion over a long period of time. The pipe fractured at the point where two different concrete slabs which formed the floor of the property met.

-There is evidence that the two slabs had moved, placing unsustainable forces on the pipe. Bad weather prior to the explosion had resulted in the ground surrounding the property becoming waterlogged. This could have led to ground movement causing the floor slabs to move.

Detective Chief Inspector Allan Harder, who led the North Yorkshire Police investigation, said: “While it was a very unusual set of circumstances that led to this tragic incident, it is important that residents know what caused the explosion and that they can make an informed decision about what to do next, based on the advice from Gas Safe Register.”

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