14 injured in gas explosion in Britain

At least 14 people, including five children, were injured on Tuesday when a huge gas explosion tore through a row of houses in the Greater Manchester area of northern England, police and rescuers said.

Last Updated: Nov 02, 2010, 21:36 PM IST

London: At least 14 people, including five
children, were injured on Tuesday when a huge gas explosion tore
through a row of houses in the Greater Manchester area of
northern England, police and rescuers said.

Four houses were destroyed in the blast which ripped
through the terraced homes in Silver Street, Irlam.
Five adults and two children were rescued from the
property. In total 14 people - including five children - have
been taken to hospital.

A 76-year-old woman suffered 30 per cent burns and was
said to be in a serious condition in Wythenshawe Hospital.

It has emerged that refurbishment work had been carried
out in the kitchen of the house at the centre of the blast. An
investigation is under way, BBC reported.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has begun a joint
inquiry with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and officers are
at the scene.

Residents of the street were awoken by the huge
explosion, which sent debris flying down the street and blew
in windows.
Up to 50 firefighters were initially called to the scene
and several neighbouring streets were cordoned off by police.

Local councillor Christine Hudson said: "It`s just
absolutely devastating. It`s like a war zone, looking at that
I`m amazed there`s no fatalities."

City West Housing Trust, which owns the property,
confirmed that work had been carried out at one of the
properties and said investigations were ongoing.

Chief executive Tim Doyle said they were doing
everything possible to support its residents displaced by the
blast.

Earlier, sniffer dogs had indicated that more people
could be trapped in the rubble, but the fire service said it
was confident everyone was accounted for.

Fire service operation director Geoff Ackroyd paid
tribute to people living in the area, who he said had "crawled
over rubble" to reach the trapped before fire crews arrived.

Ackroyd said it was lucky no-one was fatally injured.

PTI