Middlesbrough explosion: Man pulled from rubble of house destroyed in blast and flown to hospital

A man has been flown to hospital after locals reportedly pulled him from the rubble of a house that was destroyed in a suspected gas explosion.

The police said a 57-year-old man was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle with serious burn injuries after the blast in Kirkland Walk, Middlesbrough, at about 12.40pm on Tuesday.

A neighbour said "three lads" pulled the "screaming" man from the rubble, while a roofer told local media he carried the injured man out on his back.

People in Kirkland Walk and in neighbouring streets have been told they cannot go back to their homes following the explosion which destroyed much of the house and badly damaged others.

Twelve houses were affected by the blast, police said, adding that while there is no wider threat to public safety, people have should avoid the area.

Kayfee Hameed, a 45-year-old roofer who was driving past the scene, told TeessideLive he helped carry the man away from the scene.

He said: "Everybody was on the grass over there watching. When I drove past I saw the fire at the house. I jumped out and everyone was shouting 'don't go, don't go'.

"I ran inside and I said 'is anybody there?' The man was laid down there were all rocks on his leg. He was just shocked. I told him to come closer because the fire was coming down. I put him on my back and got him out."

Meanwhile, Michael Clark, who lives with his wife in Kirkland Walk, said: "Three lads went in and pulled him out of the rubble.

"They didn't hesitate, they went straight in, they were worried there was going to be another explosion.

"The man was screaming in the rubble.

"The man looked terrible when they brought him out."

The 69-year-old added: "All his clothes were stuck to him and they looked like rags.

"His hair was all burned, everything, from top to bottom."

Mr Clark said the neighbouring house to the explosion has lost a bedroom and other homes' roofs were badly damaged.

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Michelle Garner, 51, who lives in a nearby street with her French bulldog Titan, has also been told she cannot go home yet.

She said: "The whole house was shaking.

"I jumped up and opened the front door and saw all the smoke and everyone was moving around and there was no house left."

Ms Garner and Mr Clark estimated that about 50 homes could have been evacuated, possibly affecting more than 100 people.

They have been told they can gather at a local primary school.

An air ambulance took the man to hospital after landing on a nearby green.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service said: "Our team activated at 12.46pm to an incident in Middlesbrough.

"We had two doctors and two paramedics respond to the scene and they worked alongside the North East Ambulance Service to assess and treat a patient.

"The patient is being airlifted to hospital."

Cleveland Police, Cleveland Fire Brigade, North East Ambulance Service and Northern Powergrid have been working together at the scene to make it safe.

A large cordon was in place at the scene where there were at least three ambulances, four fire engines and five gas engineers' vans.

Local residents, including children who had finished school for the day, gathered at the cordon to watch the emergency services response.