Video: Man's body found after explosion destroys house in Littleport
PUBLISHED: 15:21 19 August 2013 | UPDATED: 15:21 19 August 2013
The body of a man has been found in a house which was completely destroyed in an explosion, police said today.
Officers have been searching the property, in Littleport, which burst into flames after an explosion yesterday.
This morning, Cambridgeshire police said: “The body of a man was discovered in the property. The death is currently being treated as unexplained and investigations will continue this morning.
“We are currently working with the fire service to investigate a fire at a house in Kingsmead, Littleport, at 11.50am yesterday.”
This morning a mobile police office was parked outside the house as specialist fire investigators began a search of the two-storey semi-detached property. A sniffer dog, specially-trained to search for accellerants, was also on the scene.
Tiles and other debris were blown clean off the roof of the house by the force of the blast, some landing 20yds down the street. Charred rafters were stacked on the opposite side of the road.
While the front windows of the house were blown out, the downstairs windows remained intact.
Firefighters were called to the house in Kingsmead Court after neighbours reported a loud bang.
As nearby Victoria Street was engulfed in thick, black smoke neighbours attempted to enter the property to see if there was anybody inside but were beaten back by the heat of the blaze.
Crews from Littleport, Ely and Sutton used an extra-high ladder to fight the blaze. Having put out most of the flames, they then called on assistance from the Norfolk Urban Search and Rescue team to make the structure of the house safe enough for them to continue their work.
Once that was done, they were able to go inside and damp down remaining hotspots. The fire was extinguished completely by 7.05pm - more than seven hours after the explosion.
Clive Webber, 53, who lives in Victoria Street, opposite the Kingsmead Court property, added: “It was such a big explosion it rattled the windows of my house.
“It was quite frightening to see how a modern house can burn like an inferno. All the windows were blown out and flames were coming through the roof.
“It was quite a dramatic scene. It was unreal - you just couldn’t believe what you were seeing.
“Two of the neighbours attempted to go in but it was an absolute inferno. You couldn’t get anywhere close to it. No one was going to be able to do anything in there - it needed professional help.
“The fire service were absolutely stunning. It was impressive how quick and effective they were.”