ROSEHILL STREET

Saved by her wardrobe: Elderly woman miraculously escapes gas blast that blew huge hole in house… after closet fell on her

  • Brave firefighters spent two hours rescuing the pensioners from her devastated home
  • A second dust covered young woman was led to safety after being found on top of the rubble
  • Neighbours described how they too cheated death, with one passing the house moments before the explosion

By LAWRENCE CONWAY

PUBLISHED: 10:02, 11 May 2012 | UPDATED: 14:56, 11 May 2012

 

A pensioner whose house was destroyed in a gas explosion miraculously survived the blast after a wardrobe fell on her and saved her life.

The blast last night was so powerful it blew out the windows of every house on the street in Cheltenham and could be heard half a mile away.

Neighbours of the woman, named locally as Betty Hodgkiss, said it was a miracle no one was seriously injured in the explosion.

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Obliterated: This aerial view of the house Cheltenham which blew up in a gas explosion shows the scale of the damageObliterated: This aerial view of the house Cheltenham which blew up in a gas explosion shows the scale of the damage

Destroyed: Wreckage from the blast settled where the house once stood, in the property's back garden and onto a car parked outside
Roof: The gas explosion also ripped part of the roof from one of the neighbouring terraced homes

Roof: Tiles were torn from one of the neighbouring terraced homes, but the roof of the second was untouched

The devastating blast ripped through the property in Rosehill Street sending debris shooting 50ft into the air.

The pensioner was buried under rubble and it took firefighters nearly two hours to rescue her from the rubble.

Amazingly she somehow avoided serious injury and was still conscious when she was finally pulled from the debris.

 

Witness Jules Annan said: ‘It’s almost unbelievable that no one was killed. The damage was so bad that anyone walking down the street at the time would likely be dead.

Household: A washing machine, circular dining table and other household goods are among the personal possessions left scattered in the property's back gardenHousehold: A washing machine, circular dining table and other household goods are among the personal possessions left scattered in the property’s back garden

 

‘Betty survived after a wardrobe fell on her and protected her from the worst of the blast. The street looks like the pictures you see of The Blitz.

‘The houses on either side and across the road have all been condemned and the windows have been blasted out for streets around.

‘I was having dinner with a friend who lives opposite at about 8pm last night when it happened. The noise was just incredible.

‘It’s amazing nobody was walking down the street at the time as the whole house was completely destroyed.’

Cold light of day: the house opposite is visible after a gas explosion totally destroyed a terraced home

Cold light of day: the house opposite is visible after a gas explosion totally destroyed a terraced home

Strewn: The house's contents left piled across the street and in the garden after being blown 50ft into the air
Remains: Neighbours survey the scene of the blast which remains behind police tape

Aftermath: Neighbours were left surveying the devastation which has affected every house in the street

 

Devastation: The whole street was covered in debris which emergency services spent the morning clearing awayDevastation: The whole street was covered in debris which emergency services spent the morning clearing away

 

Jumble: The remains of the woman's possessions are visible amongst the rubble of her Cheltenham homeJumble: The remains of the woman’s possessions are visible amongst the rubble of her Cheltenham home

The force of the blast blew Betty’s front door off its hinges and sent it flying through the window of a house across the street.

A bewildered young woman, believed to live next-door to the explosion, was found up perched on top of a pile of rubble.

She was led to safety by passers-by and is also believed to have avoided being seriously hurt.

Residents on Rosehill Street described today how they also cheated death as debris were hurled up the road.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2142801/Cheltenham-house-gas-explosion-Elderly-woman-Betty-Hodgkiss-miraculously-escapes.html#ixzz1ubUJaVoV

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