Bedford: Buildings evacuated as gas explosion wrecks flatson July 4, 2022 at 12:28 pm

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An eyewitness describes seeing people leaping from their flats to escape.

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Two people have been taken to hospital, one with serious injuries, after a “major gas explosion” at a block of flats in Bedford.

The incident happened in the Redwood Grove area of the town at about 09:30 BST and fire engulfed 20 flats.

Witness Alex Feltham said he heard “a huge boom”, and the roof of the block of flats had been destroyed. He said the flames spread quickly.

Police said two people were hurt as the explosion caused a “significant fire”.

A resident described seeing a person jumping from a second-floor window to escape the burning building.

“I walked to town and saw the flames, and also witnessed someone jump from the second-floor window whilst flames were blaring out,” the person, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

Fire at flats being tackled

Image source, Alex Feltham

An emergency centre has been set up at The John Bunyan Centre in Bedford for evacuees and those needing support, police said.

Bedfordshire Police and the fire service have asked people to avoid the area.

Firefighters tackling a blaze at Bedford flats

Image source, Adam Fisher/PA

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said the fire was caused by a “major gas explosion” and urged people to keep doors and windows closed.

Witness Mr Feltham said after hearing the “boom” the block of flats became “a raging inferno”.

“The damage is extensive”, he said.

Cordon at scene of fire

Image source, Justin Dealey/BBC

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Another witness, Adam Fisher, described “a huge explosion”.

“Everyone went to our work car park to see what was happening,” he said.

“Our building is adjacent to the apartment complex – immediately an inferno [was] visible, huge smoke cloud billowing, people screaming and people frantically calling for emergency services.”

A block of flats next to the three-storey block where the explosion happened has also been evacuated, and police said they were “working as quickly as we can to get people back into their homes as quickly as possible”.

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