Man pulled from rubble of house explosion in Blackburn was 'carrying out renovations'

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A man who was rescued after a huge explosion caused a house to collapse in Blackburn is believed to have been a workman carrying out renovations.

Emergency services were alerted to a building collapse on London Road shortly before 8pm on Sunday (December 17).

A neighbour said he'd seen two workmen - thought to be plumbers - working on the house before the huge blast.

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The man, who wished to stay anonymous, said it looked like a "bomb had gone off" as emergency crews scrambled to the scene.

The tenants of the house, a family that rents the property, are believed to have gone away while repair work was being carried out, the neighbour said.

Emergency services were called to the scene just before 8pm on December 17Emergency services were called to the scene just before 8pm on December 17
Emergency services were called to the scene just before 8pm on December 17 | William Lailey / SWNS

Speaking at the scene this morning, he said: "I only live a few doors away. I heard this loud bang. I thought it might be just kids in the back alley, setting off fireworks

"We went outside to have a look, and we saw all the neighbours. There were bricks everywhere. The house was totally blown up.

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"It looked like a small bomb had gone off. It was chaotic, and there were two cars damaged on the road. There was brick dust and glass everywhere."

"I know everyone in the neighbourhood, and we do know it was a rented house - obviously it was good luck that the family wasn't there.

Debris from the blast was left strewn across the streetDebris from the blast was left strewn across the street
Debris from the blast was left strewn across the street | William Lailey / SWNS

"But from what I saw on the day, there were two guys in the house doing work. I saw them bringing tiles into the property.

"It looked to me that they were plumbers working on the property."

Dramatic aerial photographs taken on Monday (December 18) show the explosion caused the roof of the property to collapse.

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Windows on the crumbling house were also blown out and debris from the blast was left strewn across the street.

Cadent Gas do not believe the incident was caused by a gas explosion at this stageCadent Gas do not believe the incident was caused by a gas explosion at this stage
Cadent Gas do not believe the incident was caused by a gas explosion at this stage | Newsquest / SWNS

Two people were taken to hospital and 50 others were evacuated following the explosion. One of the men was taken to Royal Preston Hospital to receive treatment for injuries which were not believed to be life-threatening.

The second man was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital with minor injuries Police urged people to avoid the area while investigations into the cause of the explosion continued.

An evacuation centre was set up at an education centre nearby.

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An evacuation centre was set up at an education centre nearbyAn evacuation centre was set up at an education centre nearby
An evacuation centre was set up at an education centre nearby | Lee McLean / SWNS

A spokesperson from utility supplier Cadent Gas said their staff were at the scene on Monday morning.

The cause of the incident remained under investigation, but they did not believe the incident was caused by a gas explosion.

Paula Steer, Network Director for Cadent in the North West said: "Cadent engineers have attended an explosion in Blackburn and we continue to assist the emergency response to the incident.

"At this stage, we do not believe that the explosion is as a result of the gas network, however, it is too early to determine the exact cause and an investigation is currently taking place."

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