Three hurt as family’s house ‘flattened’ by explosion that was like ‘earthquake’

Three people were injured in an explosion that levelled a house and sparked a massive fire, forcing neighbours to flee their homes.

A witness helped a family escape following the blast, which shook homes like an “earthquake” and was heard three miles away, at about 7.30am on Saturday.

Dramatic pictures posted online show a huge wall of flames moments after the explosion in Illingworth, near Halifax, in West Yorkshire, and smouldering piles of debris after the property was “flattened”.

“There is literally nothing left of the house,” one resident wrote on Facebook, while another man said the property “had disappeared”.

The blast was so powerful it shook the ground about a mile away, another local said.

The home was occupied by a couple and their teenage son, and everyone has been accounted for in the aftermath.

Engineers from Northern Gas Networks were at the scene along with firefighters and police after paramedics took the victims to hospital.

The victims were initially treated at the scene as firefighters battled the blaze. A 98-year-old neighbour was among the evacuees, said locals.

A nearby resident tweeted moments after the blast: “I am only half awake but either something just exploded near by or we had an earthquake.”

A woman said she heard the explosion three miles away in Denholme.

Another, who was about a mile away at the time, wrote on Facebook: “The explosion shook the path under my feet at Ogden.”

One resident said he got a phone call from his mother in Bradshaw, about a mile from where the explosion occurred, after she heard a “huge bang”.

Michael Dunn said the blast could be “heard and felt” in Denholme, roughly three miles from the scene.

Mr Dunn said: “Just had a call from my mother in Bradshaw, she heard a huge bang like an explosion upstairs so called up to see if everything was okay.

“There were emergency services everywhere, and a five minute walk away this house had disappeared, it was heard and felt in Denholm.”

A local tweeted: “Felt the explosion! Thought something had hit the house and only noticed the flames on the way back upstairs from checking everything. Fire looks to be out now.”

The house was “flattened”, said a woman whose father lives across the road.

She tweeted: “It’s mad how everyone is fine. How do you anticipate an explosion like that and get out in time???”

Six surrounding houses were evacuated as a precaution, and firefighters continued to douse “pockets of fire” that were still burning some time after the explosion turned the house to rubble.

The cause of the blast is being investigated.

Within a couple of hours of the incident, local residents had started a fundraising campaign and clothing collection for the family.

One wrote: “Absolutely devastating.

“Glad all got out safe and hopefully are going to be ok.

“This family has lost everything.”

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Crews are currently dealing with an incident at Green Lane, Illingworth, Halifax.

“They are working with police, ambulance, the local authority and utility companies to deal with an explosion at a house.

“Three people have been treated and have now been transported to hospital.

“All other persons are accounted for.

“The incident was initially attended by fire engines from Fairweather Green, Halifax and Odsal with specialist units from Cleckheaton and Dewsbury.

“Crews are dealing with any remaining pockets of fire and they are being extinguished should they appear.

“Firefighters are likely to be on the scene for some time.

“The incident affected one building and six surrounding houses have been evacuated as a safety precaution.

“Investigations are continuing into the cause of the explosion.”

A spokesperson for Northern Gas Networks tweeted: “Our engineers are currently attending an incident in Green Lane, #Illingworth #Halifax.

“They’re working with @WYFRS @WestYorksPolice @Calderdale to ensure that the area is safe and to determine the cause of the incident.