Portsmouth explosion: Everything we know so far about house blast in North End

TWO people have been seriously injured in a house explosion in Portsmouth.

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 5:04 pm

The blast happened in Nelson Avenue, North End, on Friday afternoon.

Fire service investigators and police have been working to find out the cause of the explosion.

Here is everything we know so far:

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

When was the explosion

Emergency services were called to Nelson Avenue at around 1.55pm on Friday afternoon.

You can see all our updates in our live blog here.

Was anyone injured?

Two people – a man and a woman – were seriously injured in the explosion and have been taken to hospital.

A spokeswoman for South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) said: ‘Both patients have been treated at the scene by all our crews and taken by ambulance accompanied by the ambulance crew and air ambulance crew, to University Hospital Southampton.

‘Our ambulance crews have left scene and our Hazardous Area Response Team and ambulance officers will remain on scene.’

She added: ‘We have sent to the scene our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) four ambulance officers, two ambulance crews and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance who have been working in partnership with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire Service, Hampshire Police, power companies and local authorities.’

Is the fire out?

Yes the blaze was put out by fire crews from across the Portsmouth area on Friday.

Incident commander Paul Reddish said: ‘We know that there has been an explosion of some sort but are not able to say what the cause of that was at this time.

‘At the moment, the property is not safe to enter. Fire investigators will be here tonight and tomorrow to try and establish the cause but that may take some time.

‘I’d like to thank the public for their patience and our emergency service and local authority partners for their help and co-operation.’

What happened?

The fire service and police started to carry out investigation on Saturday morning.

It is now believed that a ‘natural gas leak’ caused the explosion.

A spokeswoman said: ‘Police and fire service investigators visited the house in Nelson Avenue, Portsmouth, this morning and believe that the most likely cause was a natural gas leak from within the property.

‘The exact location of the leak is unknown but the resulting gas explosion and fire started in the kitchen.’

Was the house badly damaged?

The roof has caved in, front window completely blasted out leaving a hole in the front of the house - believed to have fallen down during the explosion.

Shattered glass still across the pavements, burnt wood and plastic in the front garden.

Was the area evacuated?

Residents from the street were evacuated on Friday and while most have been allowed to return, the residents in two properties either side of the blast site are still in temporary accommodation but were allowed back to collect some belongings on Saturday.

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How have residents reacted?

Terrified neighbours have described the moment homes 'shook' as the house exploded on Friday afternoon.

Andrew Payne lives in Gladys Avenue directly opposite the house where the explosion took place.

Describing the moment of the blast, the 70-year-old said: 'I heard this almighty "bang". There were shards of glass coming down and hitting the roof everywhere.

'I looked out and the whole back-end of the house had been blown out. Within four minutes, it was ablaze. I was gobsmacked.'

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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