A huge gas explosion destroyed a house in Kent today, sparking a huge fire as firefighters pulled trapped survivors to safety.
Neighbours described how the blast in Ashford ‘shook’ the whole street at just before 8am, with seven fire engines racing to the scene.
Several people were trapped inside the £350,000 property before being rescued, police said, and officers are now urgently trying to see if anyone else is missing.
An elderly couple lived in the house, according to Graham Galpin, a Conservative candidate for Kent County Council. He said a ‘heroic’ man managed to pull some people from the wreckage but ‘there are casualties’.
Dramatic video shows flames and smoke billowing from the house as police urge passers-by to stay away. Two people have been injured but their condition is unclear.
Neighbours described how the explosion in Ashford ‘shook’ the whole street at just before 8am, with seven fire engines racing to the scene. Pictured: An aerial photo of the destroyed house
Several people were trapped inside the £350,000 property before being rescued, police said, with paramedics treating casualties at the scene
Dramatic video shows flames and smoke billowing from the house in Ashford, Kent as police urge passers-by to stay away
A neighbour tweeted: ‘Huge gas explosion on my road, front of the house is completely gone’.
Chantel Weller, who lives adjacent to the road where the explosion occurred, told the BBC ‘the whole house shook’.
‘We all felt our houses shake along this road,’ she said. ‘The whole house shook, and it felt like something had blown into the side of it.
‘People said they thought it might be a gas explosion, and it looks like the houses have been evacuated. The whole area is cordoned off.’
Members of the public have been urged to avoid the area and residents have been asked to keep their windows closed.
Ambulance service staff have been accessing patients at the scene.
Emergency services examining the charred remains of the property, which was destroyed by the explosion just before 8am
A chimney stack remained tottering among the wreckage of the property this morning as emergency services cared for casualties
The scene in Ashford, Kent today as shown from the air, with seven fire engines and large numbers of police cars and ambulances in attendance
Kent Police said: ‘Officers from Kent Police are currently working alongside colleagues from Kent Fire and Rescue Service and South East Coast Ambulance Service after being called to a report of an explosion in Mill View, Willesborough, Ashford at 7.57am on Tuesday.
‘A number of people were reported to have been trapped and they were freed by emergency services. Officers are working to establish if anyone else is unaccounted for.
‘Officers are advising people to avoid the area and asking local people to keep their windows closed.’
Several people were trapped inside the £350,000 property before being rescued, police said, and officers are now urgently trying to see if anyone else is missing
A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: ‘Crews are working to extinguish any remaining signs of fire following an explosion at a house in Mill View, in Willesborough, Ashford.
‘Seven fire engines and a height vehicle are at the scene, as well as a team from the Technical Rescue Unit.
‘Crews are working with Kent Police and the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb), including its Hazardous Area Response team, and the air ambulance has also sent two road vehicles to the scene. Two casualties have been passed into the care of SECAmb.’
An ambulance service spokesman said: ‘We are assessing patients at the scene and will issue further details when available.’
Gas engineers are being sent to the house.
Members of the public have been urged to avoid the area and residents have been asked to keep their windows closed