A man who raced into a building as it collapsed around him to rescue people trapped following a massive gas explosion has been hailed as a hero.
The blast inside a three-storey terraced property on Charles Street rocked the area, with neighbours fearing a bomb had gone off.
A 72-year-old woman last night remained in a serious condition in hospital after being trapped in the rubble until she was freed by firefighters.
Roads were closed and homes evacuated on Saturday following the explosion, at around 5.55pm, which blew the rear of the property apart and sent debris flying into the street.
But tattoo artist Jason Slater was one of the men who risked their lives to go inside after hearing an elderly man inside calling for help.
The 42-year-old told The Gazette: “The house was just obliterated downstairs - the ceilings were hanging in.
“He was the other side of a massive pile of bricks. We had to climb across to get to him.
“He said his wife was still in the kitchen. The other guy went into the kitchen to look for her but couldn’t see anybody - half the kitchen was gone.
“I could hear the building falling down around us. I just said we’ve got to get this guy out of the house.
“He was just so concerned for his wife. I hope she’s all right.”
After news of his actions spread online over the weekend, Gazette readers were quick to praise Jason, who works at Mosters INK’d on Cookson Street.
Posting online, Steve James wrote: “What a great guy, helping others with no thought for his own safety.”
And Debbie Louise said: “We need more people like this. You are heroes.”
Kath Morrison also called him a ‘hero’, while Rachel Louise Hutchinson wrote: “Thank goodness he was there to help them. They must have been terrified.”
But Jasaon said: “I don’t see myself as a hero - I just went in to help the guy get out.”
And describing the moment the blast hit, he recalled: “I just saw the front of the building go completely out.
“Parts of the building just disappeared into the street.”