Homes Flattened In Salford Gas Explosion

Hundreds of people are being rehoused overnight after a suspected gas explosion in Salford which destroyed four homes and left 15 people in hospital.

The blast, which neighbours described as a "massive booming noise", happened just after 7am after workers from City West Housing Trust carried out major work in one of the properties' kitchen and bathroom.

A spokesman for the trust confirmed that the gas supply would have been disconnected and reconnected on Monday.

A 76-year-old woman suffered burns to 30% of her body in the blast, which flattened homes on Merlin Road in Irlam.

She was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital, where her injuries were later downgraded from life-threatening to "observation".

Fourteen others - including five children - were taken to Salford Royal Hospital with minor injuries.

Eleven were later released. Three adults remain for observation and treatment, medical authorities said.

Geoff Ackroyd, from Greater Manchester Fire And Rescue Service, said: "When the firefighters arrived it was utter chaos.

"There was quite a demolished building, people running everywhere.

"We had [people] go beyond the call of duty and rescue their neighbours."

Dan Corker, who lives at the end property, said he woke up to find his ceiling had caved in.

"The ceiling landed on my head, luckily my daughter was asleep in bed with us so we managed to get her out," he said.

"When we came out there were three house flat, one half-flat and a load of rubble everywhere."

Local resident Sharon Watts told Sky News that when she arrived at the scene she saw "three houses that were completely blown apart".

Nearby Fiddlers Lane Community Primary School was closed to pupils but provided shelter for those evacuated from their homes.

Headteacher Julie Carson said: "We've opened up our hall and we are providing snacks and drinks."

Salford Council said the gas supply to the houses had been isolated but a cordon remains in place for public safety.

Silver Street, Merlin Road, Cutnook Lane, Merlin Drive, McLean Drive, Neville Drive and Hartis Avenue have been closed and residents from those houses are being placed in alternative accommodation for the evening.