‘I thought it was a bomb’ – Shocked neighbours talk about the moment house exploded; more pictures and videos

All that was left of the house in Springwood, Haxby, after the explosion. Photograph: Nigel Holland
19 Feb 2016 @ 8.41 pm
| News
Rubble: All that's left of the house in Springwood, Haxby. Photograph: Nigel Holland
Rubble: All that’s left of the house in Springwood, Haxby. Photograph: Nigel Holland

Shocked residents have spoken of the moment when a house on their street was destroyed in a huge explosion.

One man, aged 63, was found dead inside the house in Springwood, Haxby. That detached property was completely destroyed, while a dozen other houses are also understood to be damaged.

Jacqui Stedman, 59, was returning to her home two doors down from the incident. She said she did not know the man who had died but her thoughts were with his family and friends.

She told YorkMix:

I was awake but still in bed. There was just an almighty bang and the house shook, and I thought something was happening downstairs in the house so I came downstairs to have a look.

I thought it might have been a bomb or an aeroplane coming down. I was just really shaky.

I’m now meant to be meeting the insurance company to board up my home and make it secure. It is really sad what has happened.

Badly damaged: Jacqui Stedman's house, two doors down from the destroyed property. Photograph: Jack Gevertz
Badly damaged: Jacqui Stedman’s house, two doors down from the destroyed property. Photograph: Jack Gevertz
Firefighters and engineers examine the damage to one of the neighbouring houses. Photograph: Jack Gevertz
Firefighters and engineers examine the damage to one of the neighbouring houses. Photograph: Jack Gevertz

The incident, thought to be a gas explosion, was reported to North Yorkshire Police at 7.30am today. Residents reported hearing loud bangs.

Zafar Shah, 51, who also lives on the same road, told YorkMix:

It was around 7.30 and I was in the wash room. I thought something had blasted in my kitchen so I ran downstairs and saw some glasses broken in my kitchen.

I looked here and there and everything was fine in my house. I then came out and saw a few more people from the street and we saw smoke, and it was coming from that house, and when we looked at it was a sort of ripple.

Our thoughts were if someone was in the house or not, but we couldn’t see anything because the smoke was coming up. The two people from across the street came here and they were devastated.

It was a big, big bang and I still feel it ringing in my ears.

It was a big, big bang and I still feel it ringing in my ears

The cause of the explosion is still being investigated. Photograph: Nigel Holland
The cause of the explosion is still being investigated. Photograph: Nigel Holland

Sarah Grand, 39, who also lives on the same road, said:

I was just getting out of bed at 7.30am when a loud bang went off. The house shook. I ran around and thought it was my house.

I then heard it was the house a few doors down and I was in complete and utter shock.

That is all you feel: shocked.

Inspector Steve Breen of North Yorkshire Police briefs the media in Haxby. Photograph: Nigel Holland
Inspector Steve Breen of North Yorkshire Police briefs the media in Haxby. Photograph: Nigel Holland

Ground Commander Steve Breen from North Yorkshire Police said:

One person, believed to be the resident, has died in this accident.

We are with members of the family and helping them at this difficult time. Our thoughts are with them.

The scene has now been cleared and a few safety measures still need to be in place but in the very near future residents are going to be able to get back into their houses.

A number of houses have been quite badly damaged and we are working with structural engineers to work out how bad that damage is going to be.