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Gas blast is still a mystery on first anniversary

Experts from the Health and Safety Executive say the cause of the gas explosion which happened a year ago in Cheltenham will never be discovered.

Miraculously, eighty one year old Betty Hodgkiss wasn't seriously injured when her home was wrecked last May. Eleven other properties in Rosehill Street were also severely damaged. Our Gloucestershire correspondent Ken Goodwin has this exclusive report.

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Cheltenham gas explosion: Full statement from HSE

We have been unable to find any definitive cause for the explosion. The nature of the explosion made it difficult to carry out a full forensic exploration of the site and we have been unable to find any evidence of recent work, or a fault in any gas appliance.

The catastrophic seriousness of the explosion itself made it very difficult to piece together physical evidence of how it is most likely to have been caused.

– Health and Safety Executive

With regards to the way evidence was removed and stored: the investigators did the very best they could in the circumstances of the evidence lying in the wreckage of the explosion.

The evidence was obtained as early as possible, was handled, stored and transported in the best practicable manner and has been scrutinised fairly and thoroughly.

– Health and Safety Executive

Cheltenham gas explosion: Cause will never be known

Investigators looking into a gas explosion that destroyed a house in Cheltenham a year ago say they will never know what caused the blast.

We have been unable to find any definitive cause for the explosion. The nature of the explosion made it difficult to carry out a full forensic exploration of the site and we have been unable to find any evidence of recent work, or a fault in any gas appliance.

– Health and Safety Executive

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Gas explosion victim out of hospital

Firefighters found 81 year old Betty Hodgkiss in the ruins of her home, describing her survival as 'miraculous' Credit: ITV West

An 81 year old woman has left hospital about two weeks after she had a miracle escape from an explosion which ripped her terraced home apart. Betty Hodgkiss suffered only a broken leg, cuts and bruises in the blast in Rosehill Street, Cheltenham and has now been discharged to recuperate.

Rescue teams spent half an hour removing bricks and other debris before finding her in a void made by fallen timbers at her home and her escape was described as "miraculous" by a firefighter at the scene

Cheltenham gas explosion: appeal for donations

The explosion happened in Rosehill Street on 10th May Credit: ITV News

An appeal's been launched for donations to help residents whose homes were damaged by a gas explosion in Cheltenham.

The two properties either side of the house that blew up on Rosehill Street are being pulled down in an operation that's expected to take up to three weeks.

Eleven other properties were severely damaged in the blast, which happened on 10th May.

Some of the affected families are in hotels and rented accommodation.

Local residents are asking companies to see whether they can donate anything that can help. They are also planning a street party.

Betty Hodgkis, 81, whose house was destroyed in the blast, is still recovering in hospital.

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