UK & World News

  • 5 February 2014, 15:31

Clacton Gas Explosion 'Like A Bomb Going Off'

A gas explosion that ripped through two houses and sent debris flying the length of residential street sounded like a "bomb going off", terrified residents have said.

The blast flattened two semi-detached properties in Cloes Lane, Essex, as people were leaving for work and parents were getting ready to take their children to school.

Residents described hearing a "horrendous" blast at around 8.30am which shook their homes and forced them out onto the streets in terror.

Gloria Barker told Sky News her "whole house jumped right up in the air" when it happened.

She said: "There were people shouting 'get them out'. When I looked out the window I saw the houses had collapsed over the road.

"I couldn't get very far because all the windows were out and there were no doors to open and there was glass everywhere upstairs.

"When it happened the whole house jumped right up in the air and everything started falling all around."

Stuart Coe told Sky News some of the debris landed in a school playing field, and neighbours initially helped tend to the 10 people injured in the blast.

He said: "We were just getting the kids ready to go out this morning. We were sitting there having breakfast and the next thing we heard this almighty bang and literally everything shook in the house. All the neighbours just came running out their houses.

"It was almost like a bomb going off. The kids were upset and crying because we didn't know what was going on. And then we started fearing there had been an explosion.

"We knew it was pretty serious when we saw the first air ambulance ... absolutely horrified when we saw the second.

"There is a police helicopter and we are hearing fire engines up and down the road - it's pandemonium.

"We could see smoke within minutes of the explosion. It was a pretty nasty event. It is unbelievable.

One of the neighbours reported seeing gas workers in the area yesterday, he added.

Gwen Mitchell, 70, who lives about 30 yards from the blast is a Tory councillor on Tendring District Council.

She said: "It's about 12 to 14 houses up the road from me on the opposite side to me. There was a very strong acidy, smoky smell in the air.

"There are lots and lots of police, ambulance and fire engines in the road, and it looks like one of the houses has gone.

"My heart has been doing flips ever since I heard the news. You don't expect this to happen so close to your own home.

"I thank God that it's not me involved and I dearly hope that no one is badly injured. There is insulation being blown up the road, which I presume has come from the house, and we have had people from the gas and electricity boards here."

Teresa Reed, a lollipop lady from nearby Towse Close, said she heard a "huge bang" as she walked to work.

"Apparently people heard it in the middle of town but I had no idea what it was. It shook the ground and knocked people out of bed," she said.

"I walked past a minute before the blast - a moment later and I could have been hit.

"I know one lady who lived close by so I'm just praying she's okay."

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