Blast couple out for six months

AN ELDERLY couple who had an amazing escape when an explosion wrecked their home will not be able to return to the property for at least six months.Daphne and Robert Little's kitchen, bathroom and loft were destroyed when a camping gas stove in their kitchen exploded.

AN ELDERLY couple who had an amazing escape when an explosion wrecked their home will not be able to return to the property for at least six months.

Daphne and Robert Little's kitchen, bathroom and loft were destroyed when a camping gas stove in their kitchen exploded.

The force of the explosion moved walls by two inches, forced a loft hatch to shoot up and hit the roof, causing tiles to fall off, and ripped the kitchen door of its hinges and sent it shooting down the hall.

The couple are currently staying at the Marlborough Hotel on the seafront and insurers are finding them a temporary home.

“We hope to have a house to live in during the next couple of weeks and we could be there for around six months while our bungalow is rebuilt,” said Mr Little, 85, a former chairman of Trimley St Mary Parish Council.

“The insurance company has been excellent and is working really fast. They sent an assessor on New Year's Day and have also arranged for a surveyor to come and look at what needs to be done.

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“But it will be a big job because walls will have to be completely rebuilt to make the property stable again before the kitchen and bathroom can be put back.”

Mr and Mrs Little, of Faulkeners Way, Trimley St Mary, praised and thanked their neighbours for their help.

“People around us were marvellous - they all came to help immediately. It was an enormous bang - like a bomb going off - and they all heard it and came out to help us,” said Mr Little.

The explosion took place about 7.20pm on Friday and is thought to have been caused by a gas canister overheating.

The couple had been using the camping stove because of the power cut which had blacked out 10,000 homes in the Felixstowe area. Mr Little said they had forgotten the electric cooker was still on when the power went off and it is thought the cooker hob heated up the gas canister when the electricity returned, which led to the explosion.

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