RESIDENTS affected by a gas explosion that ripped apart a house in Tingley have today been praised by police.
Fire crews were called to a one-bedroom bungalow at The Crescent after neighbours heard a huge explosion and saw 10ft-high flames lapping the roof at around 9.30am yesterday (May 28).
A man who was injured when a gas blast ripped through a house in Tingley has been arrested on suspicion of arson and police last night revealed that the incident was being treated as suspicious.
Speaking today, superintendent Mabs Hussain, from Leeds District Police, said: “I would like to thank the local community for their understanding and patience following the gas explosion yesterday morning.
“This understandably caused a great deal of shock and upset but I would like to reassure people that we have arrested a local 45-year-old man and are not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident.
“The circumstances leading to the explosion are still being investigated and anyone with information is asked to contact police.
“A 45-year-old man, who was rescued from the property, is continuing to receive treatment in hospital but his injuries are not considered to be life threatening.”
Last night, detective inspector Sean Duggan, of Leeds CID, said: “A house fire at a property in Tingley is now being treated as arson and an investigation has been launched by West Yorkshire Police.
“Following initial enquiries by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, the cause of the fire is now deemed to be suspicious.
“A 45-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of arson as enquiries continue.
“A 45-year-old man was taken to hospital where he is being treated for non-life threatening burn and smoke inhalation injuries.”
Next-door neighbours Joyce and Barry Bedford heard the blast as they were sat watching television.
Mrs Bedford, 70, said: “It was as if someone threw a bomb into the building. It was an inferno.”
Mr Bedford, 74, said: “I heard this almighty bang.
“I went straight to the window and as I looked out I could see flames and smoke.
“I grabbed Joyce and pulled her out of the house and into the street where we could see huge flames and smoke everywhere.”
He added: “Everyone was out in the street, calling the fire brigade, looking to see what was going on.
“The roof tiles were all over the place, it was smoky and black and there were massive flames.
“Some people have been saying that it was a gas explosion sparked by him turning on his fish tank.”
The couple said they had been told they could not go back to their house until they were given the all-clear.
Neighbour Amanda Swift, 43, said: “I was driving down the road at about half-nine when I just heard this big bang, and saw these huge flames, and smoke everywhere.
“The roof had been blown off, it was horrific.
“I called the fire brigade and they turned up, along with the police and then an ambulance.”
She added: “I didn’t think anyone could survive the blast but I saw the fire brigade leading a man out of the house.
“He seemed OK, he was walking.”
A neighbour who did not wish to be named said: “I tried to help. I heard the blast and went outside, and could see flames about 10 or 12 feet high.
“I tried to get to the house but the fire was too strong, I couldn’t get near.”
Northern Gas Networks confirmed yesterday that the blast had been caused by a gas explosion.
A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: “One male walked out of the property and has been transported to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and burns to his arms.
“Three nearby properties were evacuated as a result of the fire.”
Fire crews from Morley, Rothwell, Wakefield and Dewsbury attended the scene along with the Technical Rescue Vehicle, timber support unit from Cleckheaton and the aerial appliance from Wakefield.