GAS EXPLOSION: Blackpool community spirit stays strong after blast

Aftermath of gas explosion at a property on Charles Street
Aftermath of gas explosion at a property on Charles Street

Residents on a Blackpool street have spoken of how the community came together in the aftermath of a suspected gas explosion that ripped through the front of a house.

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The explosion happened on Charles Street at around 5.55pm on Saturday.

Homeowners Pauline Citterio and Martin Viney, along with next-door neighbour Tony Wheeler, were caught in the blast. Pauline remains at Royal Preston Hospital.

Neighbour Carol Malia, 62, said: “We’re a community. I’m putting up a neighbour who was a tenant of somebody in the house, I’ve given him a room in my house so he doesn’t have to go into a hostel.

“The community has come together. We came together last night and the whole street had a hot meal.

“We’re all friendly anyway and you can borrow anything from your neighbour here.”

She added that she suspected a pet African grey parrot had been killed in the blast, which saw both next-door homes closed off.

Shane Hearty was evacuated from his house following the incident.

He said: “I drive a taxi at night so I put my head down for a couple of hours between 5pm and 7pm. There was a very big bang.

“I looked out of the window and couldn’t see anything, just fog.”

Though his house was badly damaged, he added that the days since Saturday had been some of the ‘best of his life’ as he has now moved in with his adult daughter.

The incident

The explosion happened at an address on Charles Street, Blackpool, shortly before 6pm on Saturday.

Tattoo artist Jason Slater was hailed as a hero after he entered the house after hearing Mr Viney shouting for help.

A fire service spokesman said the blast was ‘probably’ caused by gas.