Wrentham: Gas explosion probe delayed

AN INVESTIGATION into the cause of a massive gas explosion that ripped through a village home and left a mother and daughter with burns has been put on hold until the ruined property is declared safe to enter.

A spokesman for gas network operator National Grid said their investigator may have to wait until tomorrow for a structural engineer to carry out checks at the house in Chapel Road, Wrentham, near Southwold.

“We have carried out tests on the mains in the area checking for possible escaping gas and the next thing we must do is test the service to the property and the meter,” she said.

Two days after the explosion on Christmas Eve that demolished the upstairs of the house, villagers were still stopping and chatting outside, visibly stunned by the devastation.

Maralyn Thurtle, of Oak Hill Close, Wrentham, said: “It’s the first time I have walked by and seen the damage. I can’t believe they got out alive. This is a very, very close village and everyone is in shock.”

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Retired marketing manager Stephen Harrison, 66, who lives opposite, said the flames had been “quite spectacular”.

“I was in bed and woken up by loud bangs. It was bin collection day and I initially assumed the noise was caused by that,” he said.

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“My two whippets started barking and then a senior fire officer knocked and said I might have to get out if the fire spread.”

A female neighbour who ushered mother Lynn, 50, and daughter Lucy Brown, 20, to safety following the blast at 7.30am was yesterday too upset to recount her ordeal.

The mother was flown to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital by air ambulance, but later transferred to the specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, where she was described as comfortable yesterday. Her daughter was taken by land ambulance to the same hospital, but was discharged over Christmas.

A 24-hour police guard is being kept outside the property until the structural engineer and investigator have completed their work.

Station manager Andy English, of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said the first crews on the scene were faced with a “very significant” blaze.

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