OAP wakes from coma weeks after gas explosion in Blackpool

A pensioner who cheated death when her house exploded has woken up from her coma, her lodger and close friend said.

Tuesday, 14th November 2017, 9:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:50 am
Aftermath of gas explosion at a property on Charles Street

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Images of the destruction caused by Blackpool gas explosion

Pauline Citterio, 72, spent weeks in a critical condition after she was trapped in the rubble of her Charles Street home in Blackpool.

But she is now ‘awake and telling us off’, Nigel Thomas said, though she is unable to recall the events of Saturday, September 23.

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Aftermath of gas explosion at a property on Charles Street

The 64-year-old added: “She knows what’s happened because we have told her, but she can’t remember.”

Ms Citterio’s partner of 20 years, Martin Viney previously told The Gazette: “I remember her going into the kitchen and I went in the front room,” he said.

“Within a couple of minutes there was a bang. I could not hear any explosion but I remember all the stuff falling down on me, like the ceiling.”

Mr Viney escaped unharmed, while Mr Thomas was in the Kaos bar in Queen Street at the time. He rushed back after hearing what had happened.

Aftermath of gas explosion at a property on Charles Street

The blast also trapped 28-year-old Tony Wheeler in his flat next door. He was freed by firefighters, who also dug by hand for an hour to rescue Ms Citterio.

She was taken to Royal Preston Hospital for specialist treatment, where she remains. Her pelvis was shattered and her legs broken, while she was also badly burned.

She was described as ‘beetroot red everywhere’ by Mr Viney, who also said: “She got all the blast, I didn’t. I was very lucky, I know that much.”

“It’s just a case of getting her to walk now,” Mr Thomas, now of Edgerton Road, added.

“We are waiting for a bed on the rehabilitation ward at Blackpool.”