'At least one casualty' as house destroyed by gas blast


A house has been destroyed by a suspected gas explosion with one confirmed casualty.

Emergency services attended the detached building in Haxby, near York, which was reduced to rubble and nearby properties badly damaged.

People in the street said they did not believe anyone was in the house at the time.

North Yorkshire Police said nearby residents had been evacuated and there was at least one casualty.

They said they believed the cause to be a gas explosion but this had not yet been confirmed yet.

A spokesman said: "Emergency services are at the scene of an explosion at a property in Springwood, Haxby, near York.

"Extensive damage has been caused to one house and a number of others in the area are also damaged.

"Local residents have been evacuated and a rest centre has been set up at Haxby Memorial Hall for those affected.

"The explosion was reported to North Yorkshire Police at 7.30am today.

"There is at least one casualty; however, we are unable to provide any further information regarding casualties at this stage.

"The area is cordoned off and there will be disruption to the surrounding area as emergency services work to protect the wider area."

Windows in the neighbouring houses in the leafy residential cul-de-sac were blown out and debris has been scattered across the road and gardens.

People have been urged to stay away from the scene, and remain indoors if they live in the area.

"Emergency services urge members of the public to remain indoors and away from a major incident ongoing in #HaxbyYork. Please stay safe," the force tweeted.

The explosion sounded like a crash, one local said.

The man, who did not wish to be named, was around 150 yards away at the time and described the loud bang which he said had "flattened" the property and damaged others nearby.

"The house has been completely flattened. It sounded as if a bus or something had crashed into a house, or like an aeroplane crash," he told the Press Association.

"All the properties adjacent to the one that's blown up have got damaged windows and garages."

Windows at St Margaret Clitherow Church in Holly Tree Lane and the presbytery are also understood to have been damaged.

The man said other people had told him they did not think anyone was in the property at the time.

He said: "Neighbours didn't think there was anyone there."

A tweet from PCSO Shuttleworth said: "A house has been destroyed in what we believe to be a gas explosion. Fire, ambulance & police are all on scene working hard in order to ensure the safety of the public."