Neighbours pull man from rubble after explosion

A drone picture of the damaged house, missing its roof, surrounded by debris
Fire crews worked throughout the afternoon at the scene of the explosion [PA]

A man was pulled from the rubble of his home following an explosion, neighbours have said.

The severely burned 57-year-old was flown to hospital after the blast destroyed a semi-detached house in Kirkland Walk, Middlesbrough, at about 12:40 BST.

Michael Clark, who lives in the street, said: "Three lads went in and pulled him out, they didn't hesitate, they went straight in."

Residents in the square and surrounding streets were evacuated from their homes following the explosion, which damaged 11 other houses, police said.

Mr Clark said those who rushed to help had been concerned there could be another explosion.

"The man was screaming in the rubble, he looked terrible when they brought him out," he added.

The 69-year-old said the house beside the explosion site had lost a bedroom, while other roofs were damaged.

Police and ambulance vans near a play park
Emergency services are at Kirkland Walk where the explosion happened [BBC]

Cleveland Police said that residents of Ettington Avenue and Frampton Green were now able to return to their homes.

Park End Primary School was also opened as a reception centre for affected residents.

Other neighbours spoke of their shock following the explosion, which sparked a significant response from the emergency services.

Michelle Garner, 51, 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."

Another man said: "I heard a big bang, I was in my living room and it shook the floor to the point I fell off my sofa."

Ambulance and fire crews, along with the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), were called out shortly before 13:00 BST.

GNAAS said it had sent two doctors and two paramedics to support the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) at the scene.

NEAS said the man had been flown to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

A spokesman said it had sent "a duty officer, a clinical team leader, two emergency ambulance crews, a rapid response paramedic, a doctor, four hazardous area response teams and the air ambulance".

The scene of the explosion showing damage to a neighbouring property and gas engineers at work
The explosion damaged a neighbouring property [PA]

At about 17:30 BST, emergency services were still working at the scene with cordons in place.

Cleveland Police said the force was working with Cleveland Fire Brigade, NEAS and Northern Powergrid to make the area safe.

District Cdr Supt Marc Anderson said: "While there is currently no wider threat to public safety, members of the public should avoid the area."

Roads have now reopened, but a cordon remains in place and Cleveland Police said officers would continue to patrol the area overnight.

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