England: Housing association property destroyed by explosion

GentooA housing association property near Sunderland has been destroyed in an explosion.

Emergency services were called to the Gentoo property in Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope, at just before 9am on Friday morning.

Northumbria officers along with North East Ambulance Service, Great North Air Ambulance and Tyne & Wear Fire Brigade attended the scene as residents of Rosslyn Avenue were evacuated for their safety.

One woman who was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary was said to be in “a serious but stable” condition following the explosion which also caused damage to a nearby property.

Police had quickly confirmed that the incident had no link to terrorism activity before beginning an investigation into the circumstances of the explosion.

A police spokesperson has since said the incident was caused by a gas explosion. The spokesperson added that the gas supply to the property has been capped and made safe.

Speaking in the wake of the explosion, assistant chief fire officer, John Baines, said the emergency services and other agencies had worked together very effectively to deal with a “challenging” incident.

He said: “On arrival our crews were faced with a casualty trapped in an unstable and collapsed structure. Firefighters acted quickly to rescue the resident, in difficult and dangerous conditions.

“Working closely with Northumbria Police, North East Ambulance Service and the local authority we deployed our Urban Search and Rescue teams, including Spencer, our search dog. They specialise in responding to buildings which have structurally collapsed. We also used our command unit and aerial drone to support operations.

“Once again our crews and those of all the emergency services have demonstrated dedication and professionalism as they worked together in such a challenging incident. Over the coming days we will continue to work with our police colleagues to determine the cause of this explosion.”

Michelle Meldrum, executive director of operations at Gentoo Group, told Scottish Housing News: “The safety and wellbeing of our residents is of paramount importance to us and we have a team of staff on hand offering support. All residents in the surrounding area have been given the contact details for specific members of Gentoo staff for any queries or concerns they have.

“Following the necessary safety checks, all residents are now able to move back in to their homes with the exception of one family, where their property requires extensive further repair. We have placed them in temporary accommodation until their home is ready.

“With regards to the residents of the two properties now demolished, one remains in hospital and the couple in the other property are in temporary accommodation, provided by Gentoo. We have already offered this couple alternative permanent accommodation which they are now considering.

“Our team have ensured they have everything they need in terms of clothing and necessities for the short term and we continue to offer them support and assistance.

“We are working closely with the emergency services and all other parties involved whilst investigations are ongoing.”

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