One dead after care home fire believed to be caused by exploding oxygen cylinder

A pensioner has died after a fire at a residential care home, thought to have been caused by an exploding oxygen cylinder, the local authority has said.

Emergency services were called to reports of a blaze at Woodlands View care home in Stevenage at around 4.30pm on Saturday.

Hertfordshire County Council has since confirmed a man in his 80s has died, and that seven people have been taken to hospital with one still in a critical condition.

A spokeswoman for the authority told the Press Association that an investigation into the blaze is ongoing.

"But at the moment it appears there was a small explosion from an oxygen cylinder - and that is what resulted in the fire," she added.

Eight fire engines were sent to the scene in Magpie Crescent - with 41 people inside the premises at the time of the fire.

The council said many of those inside self-evacuated but that firefighters had to complete five rescues and assist another 10 from the property.

Darryl Keen, chief fire officer and director of community protection at the council, said social services continue to work closely with the care home provider to ensure the welfare of affected residents.

"The care home providers are doing everything possible to contact relatives of residents to keep them updated with the latest information," he added.

"The joint response from all the emergency services has been commendable. An investigation into the cause of the fire will now be carried out. Our thoughts are with all those affected."