Major gas explosion 'obliterated' property while elderly couple were inside

A man who helped an elderly man escape the wreckage of a Blackpool guest house following a massive gas explosion has told of the devastation he witnessed.

Saturday, 23rd September 2017, 9:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:53 am
Jason Slater helped pull an elderly man from a home that was destroyed in the blast on Charles Street. Scene pictures by Richard Gomm and Nadia Wallace

Roads have been closed and residents living nearby evacuated. Police said six people were injured in the blast at a guest house but none of them seriously.

Tattoo artist Jason Slater, 42, was at corner of the street when it was rocked by the explosion.

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"I just saw the front of the building go completely out," he said.

"Parts of the building just disappeared into the street and I went over to see what was going on.

"I asked if anyone was in there - I yelled out and then I heard someone. The guy was saying: 'I'm still here. I'm still here.'

"The house was just obliterated downstairs - the ceilings were hanging in."

Jason who works at Mosters INK'd, on Cookson Street, said he and another man went inside to help, in spite of the obvious danger.

Inside, they saw the elderly man who had shouted for help.

Jason said: "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 wasn't hurt - he was just really shaken up and covered in a lot of dust.

"He said he was just in the living room watching TV (when the explosion happened).

"He was just so concerned for his wife. I hope she's all right."

Officers confirmed a woman and another man had been trapped in the wreckage but both were freed without any major issues. Both were taken to hospital for treatment.

And Jason described how the explosion had torn a hole in the wall dividing the property from the house next door.

Despite the reaction he has had from people online telling him otherwise, he added: "I don't see myself as a hero - I just went in to help the guy get out."