Pensioner makes a miracle escape after explosion

DAMAGE The police officer outside the boarded-up house in Stamshaw following a gas explosion. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (13356-9529)
DAMAGE The police officer outside the boarded-up house in Stamshaw following a gas explosion. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (13356-9529)
Police outside student accommodation in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth on Friday Picture Ben Fishwick

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A GAS explosion at a house in Portsmouth has left a man in his 90s in hospital.

The blast blew out the front and back windows of the pensioner’s house in Walden Road, Stamshaw, at 8.15am yesterday.

Neighbours saw the man – who was called Bill – walk out of his house with minor burns to his face and say it was lucky he wasn’t more seriously hurt.

Firefighters from Cosham and Southsea put out a fire that had started in the house afterwards before ventilating it.

The man was given first aid before being sent to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, for treatment.

The windows were boarded up and police carried out enquiries. The road was closed for more than an hour.

Residents were left shaken by what happened.

Brian Leach, 48, who lives next door with his wife Mandy, 52, and his daughters Sarah, 15, and Sarah, 17, was woken up by a huge bang.

‘The first thing we heard was a bang and thought that our cat had knocked something over.

‘I then went outside to see what had happened and found glass scattered across the alleyway.

‘After I hopped over the wall and saw what was going on I called 999.

‘I then saw the man walk out of his house which I thought was a miracle.

‘We were all left a bit shaken up. I just hope he makes a full recovery. He’s a nice old bloke.’

Sue Brown, 55, who lives three doors away, said: ‘Nothing like has happened around here before.

‘I heard a bang and at first I thought it was my ceiling coming down.

‘Then I saw the fire engines and after I went outside I could smell gas.

‘I hope he gets well soon because he’s known by everyone in the street.’

Engineers from Southern Gas Networks checked the gas main and found it wasn’t the cause of what happened.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We were called to Walden Road at 8:20am to assist emergency services following an explosion at the property.

‘Our thoughts are with the occupier who was taken to hospital.

‘On arrival at 8:28am our engineers checked the gas main and services up to the meter.

‘We can confirm that no leaks were found on our mains and service and have not contributed to what happened.’