Two injured in gas blast drama

TWO workers were injured and at least ten families had to be evacuated from their homes following a gas explosion in north Suffolk last night.The drama unfolded at about 6.

By David Lennard

TWO workers were injured and at least ten families had to be evacuated from their homes following a gas explosion in north Suffolk last night.

The drama unfolded at about 6.20pm as workers from Transco were investigating reports of a gas leak in Fir Lane, Lowestoft.

One worker was treated at the scene by paramedics but the other had to be taken to the James Paget Hospital at Gorleston.

Keith Dickinson, of Fir Lane, was one of the first on the scene and helped one of the injured workers until the ambulance crew arrived.

"There was this almighty flash but very little noise," he said.

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"I went outside to see what was happening and there was this Transco worker in the hole in the road who had been injured in the explosion.

"I managed to help him out of the hole and took him inside my home where he could rest until the ambulance arrived," he said.

Mr Dickinson said the worker did not appear too badly injured although his face and hair were singed.

"He appeared more shaken than anything," he said. He was later taken to hospital.

His neighbour Mel Gowing said that work in the road had been going on for most of the afternoon.

"I am a shift worker and had been trying to get to sleep but couldn't because of all the drilling that was going on.

"I knew something was wrong as soon I saw this almighty flash," he said.

Fire crews from nearby Normanston fire station were quickly on the scene and helped police officers evacuate people from nearby homes.

It is believed that at least ten families had to leave their homes because of the danger of further explosions.

Most stayed with friends in the neighbourhood while some preferred to stay just outside the exclusion zone set up by police.

Fire crews stayed at the scene on standby while emergency workers from Transco carried out repairs.

It was expected to take several hours before those living nearest to where the explosion occurred could be allowed back in their homes.

Graham McQuarrie, a spokesman for Transco, said: "Our engineers had been at the site from about midday following reports of an outside gas leak.

"We can confirm one engineer was taken to hospital, at this stage we do not know the extent of his injuries. Paramedics treated the other.

"A team of engineers has been sent to the site to investigate and enquiries into the cause are continuing."

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