Pensioner survives explosion

The house on Welch Road
The house on Welch Road Photo: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

An elderly man in his 90s has survived a large explosion at his home in Southsea. Firefighters located the pensioner following the blast at the rear of his terraced home in Welch Road.

50% of the rear of his home has been destroyed and there is significant structural damage to the front of the property. It"s thought that the explosion was caused by a gas cooker left on overnight.

Fire crews from Southsea were called to the scene at just before 4am this morning, following reports of a loud explosion. They then entered the building using breating apparatus and found the elderly man.

The property on Welch Road
The property on Welch Road Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

The fire fighters isolated the gas supply and requested the attendance of the gas board. The 8 surrounding properties were evacuated following the blast with residents spending the night at the local Salvation Army centre. The elderly resident of the property was taken to hospital by South Central Ambulance Service.

Neighbours were evacuated from Welch Road
Neighbours were evacuated from Welch Road Credit: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

The man usually sleeps in the back of the house but was asleep in the front room of the on the ground floor of the property at the time of the explosion. Had he been in the back of the house it could have been a very different outcome.

“The explosion caused not only caused major structural damage to the elderly man’s house but also the dividing walls to the adjacent properties.

“Our crew was able to quickly assess the scene, help the man to safety and isolate the gas supply.

“We then worked with our partners to carry out a controlled evacuation plan in the area and reassure residents.

“This is a very stark reminder of the dangers gas can cause. People should always check any gas appliances or cylinders are fully turned off before they go to bed or leave their house. If you smell gas, contact the gas board and do not use naked flames or electrical items.”

– Station Manager Dave Smith, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service