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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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Fire crews called after explosion blows out Carlisle house windows

A man and his nephew had a lucky escape after an explosion ripped through a house with them standing just yards from the blast.

Barry Aitchinson, 39, said that both he and his three-year-old nephew Aden were “lucky to be alive” and probably would have died had they been inside at the time.

They had been in the back garden of Mr Aitchinson’s house on Sewell Place, Currock, feeding a dog called Brogue, when they were startled by a loud bang and the sound of breaking glass behind them.

Such was the force of yesterday afternoon’s blast that three windows were blown out, walls cracked and plaster ripped off.

Mr Aitchinson said he was absolutely terrified when he heard the bang which was so loud that his neighbours came out to see what had happened.

He said: “We were ready to go in. We were just feeding the dog in the kennel.

"I heard a big bang. I grabbed the boy – that was my first instinct and he grabbed me around my legs.

“I can’t get over the impact of the explosion; that’s what’s given me a shock.

“I feel lucky to be alive. If I had been in the house, I think I would be dead.”

He added: “I haven’t even been in this house for very long, just three months. There are big cracks upstairs and I don’t have the money to fix it.”

Two downstairs windows were completely shattered at the back of the house.

Mr Aitchinson said that plaster had fallen off and the explosion had caused a number of cracks upstairs and downstairs.

A window and its frame propped up against the wall at the front of the house had been blasted into the middle of the garden.

Neighbour Jackie Mulligan, 39, was in her bathroom upstairs when she heard a loud bang.

She said: “I thought something had been dropped downstairs and then I heard an alarm going off.”

No-one was hurt in the explosion but Mr Aitchinson said that his nephew had been left shaken.

Mr Aitchinson said he did not know what had caused it.

But the fire service confirmed that it had involved a domestic cooker and an aerosol placed on top.

A spokeswoman from landlord Riverside said: “If we believe this is damaged caused by the tenant willfully or neglectfully we will charge them for repairs.”

It is understood that Mr Aitchinson and Brogue have now left the house but their exact whereabouts is not known.

Firefighters were called to the house and it was cordoned off. Structural engineers from Carlisle City Council’s building control department have already visited the house to begin surveying the damage.

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