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Pensioner’s miracle escape after ‘gas explosion’ flattens her entire home as she brushes teeth


A PENSIONER had a lucky escape after a suspected gas explosion destroyed her bungalow.

Neighbours said the injured occupant was brushing her teeth when her home in Buckfastleigh, Devon.

Neighbours said the pensioner was brushing her teeth when the explosion happened
SWNS:South West News Service
The bungalow in Devon was completely wrecked
SWNS:South West News Service

They claimed the woman, thought to be in her 70s, simply walked out of the wreckage after the blast at around 8am today.

Photos show the home was totally destroyed, with bricks and other debris littering the road.

The woman is being treated in hospital for “significant burns” while another person is being treated for minor injuries, police said.

Neighbour Tom Hall, who lives 100ft from the blasted property in Barn Park, said the fact that the woman survived was a miracle.

He added: “I am not sure any of us saw the actual explosion, but it woke most of us up.

“If you have never heard a gas explosion before, you couldn’t have guessed what that sound was.

“It’s a bizarre, metallic sound.

“My girlfriend went there and she saw the woman walking out of the property.

‘SIGNIFICANT BURNS’

“I don’t know how she managed to walk out alive to be honest. The force of the impact blew the door opposite open.

“It is absolutely insane. There is significant damage.

“The house to the right, the joining wall is gone. Luckily the chap was out when it happened.

“There is debris on the road and cars are smashed up. It was quite intense but luckily no one died.”

Tom said residents have been asked by the fire service to stay inside with their windows closed until further notice.

Other locals described hearing a loud bang that left them thinking their windows were going to smash.

Pauline Manfield, 75, who lives on the street said a passerby took the injured woman into a nearby home for a cup of tea before paramedics arrived.

She said: “There was just this massive bang.

“It made the house shake for a good few seconds.

“My husband thought a plane had come down.

I don’t know how she managed to walk out alive to be honest. The force of the impact blew the door opposite open


Neighbour Tom Hall

“There was this gust of smoke.

“I went to the window and saw her hair all singed off which I don’t understand because there wasn’t a fire.

“She normally has blonde hair but mind you she doesn’t have much of that left.

“A young man who just so happened to be walking past ran over to help her and took her for a cup of tea at a neighbour’s house.

“She was in her night dress. Apparently she was brushing her teeth at the time.

“The lady who lives next door to her, had her water tank fall on her.

“I am just so shocked that she is still here and she is still alive.”

One wrote on Facebook: “A young lad in his 20s had to help the poor lady out from the rubble.

“I watched him with my heart in my mouth.

“He and a couple of others were real heroes getting neighbours out also.

“I hope someone is now giving him a strong cup of tea and a hug.”

There was just this massive bang. It made the house shake for a good few seconds


Neighbour Pauline Manfield

Another added: “The house shook. I am just round the corner and my garden overlooks the location.

“By the looks of it, the house is in tatters.

“I just hope everyone is OK.”

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said emergency serviced were called to a “potential gas explosion” at 7.50am.

He added: “On arrival officers found significant damage to a bungalow.

“A female occupant in her 70s suffered burns and has been taken to hospital. A second person was treated for minor injuries at the scene.

“Other nearby residents have been evacuated while the building is being made safe.

“Police and Devon Fire and Rescue Service are currently working to establish the cause.


“A cordon remains in place covering the Barn Park and Jordan Street area of Buckfastleigh.”

A spokesman for Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service added: “Fire crews from Buckfastleigh, Ashburton, Newton Abbot and Ivybridge are currently attending what seems to be a gas explosion at a property on Barn Park in Buckfastleigh.

“At this time there is limited information as our crews are dealing with the incident.”

Wreckage from the bungalow was blown right across the street
SWNS:South West News Service
The blast is thought to have been caused by a gas explosion
SWNS:South West News Service
The pensioner suffered ‘significant burns’ in the blast
SWNS:South West News Service
Neighbour Tom Hall said it was a ‘miracle’ the pensioner survived
SWNS:South West News Service
The fire service warned neighbours to stay indoors
SWNS:South West News Service
Tom Hall, right, and Pauline Manfield live near to where the blast happened
SWNS:South West News Service
The pensioner was given a cup of tea by a neighbour before the paramedics arrived
SWNS:South West News Service

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