Mystery hero praised after dashing into burning building to rescue woman after Portsmouth explosion

A MYSTERY hero dashed into a burning building and carried a pensioner to safety after a gas leak caused an explosion in a house.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 4:55 am

The blast erupted in a terraced home in Nelson Avenue, North End at around 2pm on Friday, causing the street to be evacuated.

Neighbours have described how a mysterious hero braved the flames to rescue a woman, who is in her 70s, from the property and carried her out over his shoulder.

Now residents are calling for him to come forward and receive a ‘pat on the back’.

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Flames coming from a property in Nelson Avenue, North End, after an explosion. Picture: Paige Emery

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Vanessa Morrisey, who lives five doors down from the incident, said: ‘There was a chap who was trying to get into the house.

‘He carried the woman out on his shoulder after she was trapped under the door. If it wasn’t for him there would be no house and she might have died.’

Debbie Brown, another nearby neighbour, said it was ‘scary stuff’ and a ‘miracle no one died’ before adding: ‘The guy who saved her needs to come forward and have a pat on the back. He put his life on the line.

The scene in Nelson Avenue this morning. Picture: Emily Jessica Turner

‘Fingers crossed something can be done for the people who lived there.’

The pensioner and her son were seriously injured in the blast and are now being treated at a specialist burns unit in Salisbury Hospital, The News has learnt.

It is also expected that the house, which has been severely damaged by the blast, will be demolished today.

In the aftermath of the blast, residents poured out into the street to help before firefighters and police attended - with the ambulance arriving a while later.

The community has continued to rally round the victims with a fundraiser set up and people up and down the street offering their support.

A fundraiser has been set up for the two victims of the blast.

Gemma Jenkins explained: ‘It’s just horrible what happened. They have lost everything, not just their home but all the sentimental things.

‘I wanted to do something to help. Hopefully the money will help them with clothes or whatever they need.’

Hampshire Fire and Rescue said over the weekend that the explosion had been caused by a ‘natural gas leak’ and that the blaze had started in the kitchen.

Neighbours have also been left homeless following the blast, which left a gaping hole in the roof and saw the bay window blown out.

The rear of the terraced home was also destroyed, flinging debris into the back gardens of homes to the rear, in Gladys Avenue.

A man who lives next door to the property said: ‘There was a big fireball. Flames were burning 10ft above the roof.’

He said he was now ‘homeless’ and being put up in a Travelodge along with other nearby neighbours.

‘We will have to wait and be told when we can get back in the house but I’m optimistic we will be allowed back in. I’ve invested a lot of time and money in the house and I don’t want to lose it,’ he explained.

Iracema Carvalho, 38, whose house is also thought to be beyond repair, added: ‘I was at home with a friend and we heard a bang. We were very lucky. It was lucky my children were not here too.

‘We are now staying at the Travelodge because the house is not safe. I don’t know how long for.’

Cosham crew manager Beth Medway said they had visited all houses in the road to offer reassurance and give people smoke alarms where needed. ‘Everyone was very grateful,’ she said.

A police spokesman said there were ‘no suspicious circumstances’ and it was a ‘fire-led incident’.

Portsmouth City Council is continuing to support affected families.

To donate to the fundraiser for the victims go to: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gasexplosionportsmouth

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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