Home explosion in Essex injures 10

Feb. 5, 2014 at 6:52 PM

ESSEX, England, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A house exploded in Essex, England, Wednesday, flattening two neighboring structures, damaging a third and injuring 10 people, two seriously, police said.

About 8:30 a.m. neighbors reported hearing an "almighty" blast that shook buildings. Emergency responders rushed to the area and found neighbors trying to pull people out of a massive pile of rubble, the Guardian reported.

Two victims, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 50s, were airlifted to a regional hospital. The man's injuries were described as "life-threatening" and the woman had suffered severe burns.

Other injuries ranged from broken legs to lacerations and concussions, emergency responders said.

Police said a natural gas fire was being allowed to burn under control at the scene, though investigators did not say whether it was the source of the explosion.

"We were sitting there having breakfast and the next thing we heard this almighty bang and literally everything shook in the house -- the conservatory shook, it felt like the roof was shaking," resident Stuart Coe told Sky News.

In total, 19 neighboring properties were evacuated and building inspectors were checking to see if they are structurally sound after the blast.

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