Felixstowe: Explosion after man barricades himself in flat

Windows boarded up at the first floor flat at Lancaster House, The Walk, Walton, Felixstowe, where t

Windows boarded up at the first floor flat at Lancaster House, The Walk, Walton, Felixstowe, where the explosion happened. - Credit: Archant

People have spoken of being evacuated from their homes shortly before a gas explosion rocked a block of flats in Felixstowe.

Residents of Lancaster House in The Walk, along with occupants of a nearby row of houses, spent two hours waiting in a car park as police negotiators tried to engage with a man they say had taken a quantity of drugs and was threatening to dislocate a gas pipe.

Roy Nelhams, his mother Sheila Middleton, and friend David Taylor, who live in the flat below, were among those evacuated.

Mr Nelhams said: “We saw about six police officers outside and mum asked what was happening but they said there was no problem.

“I came out with a cigarette, but was asked to extinguish it for health and safety reasons.

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“Shortly after that they evacuated us. We heard the bang of the explosion and there was smoke billowing out and firefighters went in.”

All the residents, except the occupant of the flat above in which the explosion happened, were allowed back after the properties were checked by structural engineers.

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Two men aged 45 and 47 were arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

The younger man, who is from the Stowmarket area, was taken to hospital for treatment for burns. The older man, from Great Yarmouth, has been released on bail until September 9.

Emergency services were called to The Walk at 9.40am on Monday and at around 10.50am hammering was heard from inside the premises and a gas pipe was fractured.

A police spokeswoman said: “There was a small explosion within the property and entry was forced.

“The fire service dealt with the fire, and the gas was turned off, but the man had barricaded himself into a bedroom.”

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