'Miraculous' more not hurt in Salford 'gas' blast
Published: 2nd Nov 2010 18:24:13
Fire crews have said they are "amazed" more people were not seriously injured in a suspected gas explosion in Salford, Greater Manchester.
Three homes were flattened and 20 properties were damaged in the blast in Merlin Road at about 0715 GMT.
A woman aged 82 is in a critical but stable condition in hospital. Fourteen others suffered minor injuries.
Firefighter Paul Duggan said seeing such damage being caused in "a blink of the eye" was "astonishing".
Of the 14 victims with minor injuries, five of them are children. Eleven have since been discharged from Salford Royal Hospital and three adults are due to remain in overnight as a precaution, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The 82-year-old victim is being treated at Wythenshawe Hospital.
The source of the explosion has been traced back to the middle house of the three destroyed in the blast.
Neighbours crawled over rubble to rescue those trapped
A new kitchen and bathroom had just been fitted.
Tim Doyle, chief executive of City West Housing, the firm which owns the property, said he believed it was a gas explosion.
"It would be extremely unlikely that what has happened is not connected with the work carried out," he said.
He apologised for distress caused by the accident and said the company would "take full responsibility" if it was to blame.
Susan Bennett, 48, of Merlin Road, lives three doors down from the house at the centre of the blast.
She said she had seen the 82-year-old woman run out of the property covered in burns.
"She was screaming help, help, she said 'it was my house'. She said she turned the cooker on to make her porridge and then there was the explosion.
"No-one knew what was going to happen. I thought the world was coming to an end. It was just horrible."
Witnesses describe the explosion
Mr Duggan, who was the first incident commander on the scene, said debris had flown as far as 328ft (100m) down the road from the epicentre of the blast.
"It was total chaos, when we first arrived the first thing I noticed was a bath in the middle of someone's garden," he said.
"We rescued the 82-year-old woman from the property, she was surrounded by rubble and we had to carry her out.
"I am amazed, it is miraculous that there weren't more people were seriously injured.
"It was important we maintained a balance between entering the properties to rescue people and making sure crews were not injured in the process."Crews 'amazed' at low blast toll
Even before firefighters had arrived at the scene, neighbours had started crawling over the rubble to rescue those who were trapped.
Vinnie Jones, who lives five doors from the explosion, spotted a woman clutching a baby in a bedroom of one of the damaged houses and rushed to help her.
"The back of her house had just blown off," he said. "She was trapped."
He took the baby from her and carried the child down the ladder before returning and carrying the woman to safety.
"It was just instinct and adrenaline," he said.
A 600m cordon that had been placed around the 200 affected homes was reduced in the late afternoon and residents started to return to their properties.
However, the cordon was later re-installed due to structural concerns and people have once again been told to return to temporary accommodation at the homes of relatives, friends, and an emergency centre for families at Fit City Cadishead, on Lords Street.
Silver Street, Merlin Road, Morrillion Road, Cutnook Lane and a number of other nearby routes remain closed.
Mr Doyle, of City West Housing, said 100 hotel rooms had been booked in nearby hotels and 12 to 25 properties on the edge of the blast would need structural checks.
The Health and Safety Executive has begun a joint inquiry with Greater Manchester Police.
At 07:30:15 in SportScarlets head coach Simon Easterby says his side did not turn up in the first half of their shock Pro12 17-13 derby defeat against 10th-placed Cardiff Blues at the Millennium Stadium.
At 07:25:20 in SportOspreys coach Steve Tandy admits he is frustrated his side failed to gain a bonus point in their Pro12 20-10 derby victory against Newport Gwent Dragons.
At 06:20:05 in SportSuggesting that Fernando Torres was once a firm fans' favourite at Atletico Madrid is something of an understatement.
At 05:59:37 in HeadlinesA perfect example of how two different papers can cover the same story in two different ways can be seen in Easter Monday's coverage of the latest skin cancer figures.
At 05:50:52 in HeadlinesWin Tin, a veteran of Myanmar's pro-democracy movement, has died at the age of 85.
At 05:21:49 in HeadlinesA submarine scanning the ocean floor for signs of a missing Malaysian airliner is two-thirds of the way through its search but has yet to find the plane, officials say.
At 05:01:28 in HeadlinesThousands of runners are preparing to take part in an emotional Boston Marathon amid unprecedented security.
At 04:45:06 in HeadlinesSouth Korean President Park Geun-hye has condemned the conduct of some of the crew of the ferry that sank last week, calling it "akin to murder".
At 04:30:05 in EnglandA huge fire on an industrial estate in Leeds has sent flames and a large plume of smoke up over the city.
At 03:16:30 in HeadlinesUkraine says it will launch an investigation into a fatal shooting in the east of the country which has raised tension with Russia further.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. 'Miraculous' more not hurt in Salford 'gas' blast [Online] (Updated 2nd Nov 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/104606/Miraculous-more-not-hurt-in-Salford-gas-blast [Accessed 21st Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
A huge fire on an industrial estate in Leeds has sent flames and a large plume of smoke up over the city.
Scotland's first chocolate factory aroused suspicion at the outbreak of World War One. Why was it so strongly-built and why did it employ so many Germans? The authorities were called to investigate.
A motorcyclist who was seriously injured when his machine collided with a 4x4 towing a trailer carrying an inflatable boat has died, said police.
After Joseph Heller published his seminal war novel Catch-22 he adapted the book for the stage. He hoped it would go to Broadway - but more than 40 years on, his script has very rarely been performed. Now it is finally getting its UK premiere.
Win Tin, a veteran of Myanmar's pro-democracy movement, has died at the age of 85.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com