March 9 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Nine people are in hospital, two with serious burns, after a gas blast destroyed two houses in Cloes Lane, Clacton, today.
A police update on the condition of those injured following the explosion just before 8.30am stated that a woman and a man are both being treated for serious burns which are not believed to be life-threatening.
A further seven people are in hospital with “minor injuries”.
Police said 19 properties have been evacuated - 10 in Cloes Lane and nine in the road immediately behind the affected property.
One house was completely flattened, the next door semi-detached property three-quarters destroyed and a third house was reported as badly damaged - click here to see more photos from the scene.
A spokesman for East of England Ambulance Service said an injured man in his 70s was airlifted to Broomfield Hospital in a life-threatening condition after being anaesthetised at the scene by air ambulance paramedics.
A woman, believed to be in her 50s, was also taken to Broomfield Hospital with severe burns.
The spokesman said: “The other casualties were taken with serious and minor injuries to Colchester General Hospital. Injuries include burns and trauma injuries, such as broken legs.
“Five ambulances, several ambulance incident officers, the hazardous area response team (HART) and two air ambulances attended the scene and treated casualties on scene before they were taken to hospital.”
Two air ambulances were also despatched, while two hospitals Colchester and Broomfield in Chelmsford - which has a specialist burns unit - were put on alert.
A spokesman for Essex Fire Service said. “At 9am the incident commander reported two semi-detached houses have been affected by the blast causing a gas fuelled fire, which is being allowed to burn under control.
“Numerous other properties have been affected by flying debris and are being evacuated.
“Firefighters are searching the rubble and dealing with multiple casualties with various injuries. There are still people unaccounted for.
“The area is being cordoned off and people are being asked to avoid the vicinity so that emergency crews can do their work.
“At 9.43am Assistant Divisional Officer Lee Palfreyman reported five people were taken to hospital, one with life-threatening injuries. Five people are being assessed on scene by ambulance paramedics.
“Debris flew in all directions damaging windows and roofs. Crews are continuing their work at the scene. The evacuation of properties is now complete and the Gas Board are in attendance assessing the scene.”
He said fire crews were investigating the exact cause of the fire this afternoon.
Electricity was also cut off to properties to aid the emergency services. UK Power Networks said 129 homes are currently without power.
A spokesman for the organisations said: “Following a house explosion this morning in Clacton on Sea, UK Power Networks engineers attended site to turn off power to 129 customers while the Emergency Services are currently working in the area.
“We will restore power as soon as the Emergency Services work is complete.”
Anyone who is concerned about friends or relatives can contact Essex Police on 101, extension 489803