Neighbours tell of shock after huge gas blast

The scene of the explosion at a bungalow in Tingley, Leeds. Pitures: RossParry Agency
The scene of the explosion at a bungalow in Tingley, Leeds. Pitures: RossParry Agency
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Shocked neighbours have spoken of the moment they heard a gas explosion tear apart a house in West Yorkshire.

The incident at The Crescent in Tingley, near Leeds, ripped through a one-bedroomed bungalow yesterday.

A 46-year-old man was arrested last night on suspicion of arson in relation to the incident.

Fire crews were called to the scene at The Crescent at around 9.30am when neighbours reported a huge explosion.

Eye-witnesses said they saw 10ft-high flames lapping the roof, which has been destroyed, and fire crews from across the district were called in to help control the blaze.

Neighbour Barry Bedford, 70, lives next door with his wife Joyce.

Mr Bedford said: “I grabbed Joyce and pulled her out of the house and into the street where we could see huge flames and smoke everywhere. Everyone was out in the street, calling the fire brigade, looking to see what was going on.”

He added: “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 from the emergency services.

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.

Firefighters attended the scene throughout the day yesterday and several people in nearby homes were evacuated.

The Technical Rescue Unit was also in attendance at The Crescent last night to try and keep the building from collapsing.

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: “One male self-rescued (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, which was reported to the fire service at around 9.30am as an explosion.”

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.

A structural engineer was also on the scene to work alongside the emergency services.

A spokesperson for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “We can confirm we attended a fire at a property in Tingley, West Yorkshire, following a call from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue at around 9.30am on Wednesday, May 28.”

The spokesperson added: “We sent a rapid response vehicle, two ambulances, a clinical supervisor, a BASICS doctor and our Hazardous Area Response Team to the scene.

“A male patient was taken to hospital by ambulance, believed to have suffered burns and smoke inhalation.”