Terrified neighbours have described the moment a person jumped out of a window to safety after an explosion engulfed a family home in flames and saw three people rushed to hospital.
Emergency services and units from several fire stations were left tackling the blaze after they were called to the scene in Illingworth, near Halifax, West Yorkshire just before 7.40am today.
The explosion, which shook the ground like an ‘earthquake’, ripped through the family home and forced residents, including a 98-year-old, in six surrounding houses to evacuate their properties as a safety precaution.
The three people were treated at the scene on Green Lane before being taken to hospital for further treatment. The extent of their injuries has not been confirmed.
It is believed that a couple lived in the property with their son, according to local reports.
Local resident Candice Nevison, 37, said she saw someone jump out of the window of the house that was engulfed in flames while another person was seen running out of the burning building at around 7.45am.
An elderly woman who lived in a house next-door was also carried out over a man’s shoulder before 999 crews arrived to the chaotic scene, the resident added.
Ms Nevison, whose mother lives across the street, said the impact of the explosion was ‘so extreme’ she thought her own house was collapsing.
The mother-of-two said: ‘It sounded like there was a massive bang and it felt like something had fallen on my head.
‘The impact was just so extreme I thought my own house was collapsing. I was terrified because it was so loud and my mum lived right on that street. I looked out and there was a massive fire.
Emergency services were called to the scene in Illingworth, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, just before 7.40am today after an explosion at the family home
Fire crews, who have been working with West Yorkshire Police and Yorks Ambulance, Calderdale Council, tackle the blaze in Illingworth near Halifax
Large flames ripped through the house this morning and the explosion could be heard more than three miles away, according to residents
The three people were treated at the scene on Green Lane in Illingworth, Halifax, before they were taken to hospital for further treatment
‘Thankfully my mum was evacuated as one of the six homes and she’s okay.’
She added: ‘I saw people running out the house at around 7.45am. I saw one person jump out the window while another person carried an old lady over her shoulder.
‘You just don’t expect anything like this to happen. I’ve never seen or heard anything like it before.’
Another neighbour, who described the massive blast as ‘surreal’, was told that three people in the property were taken to hospital with burns.
Colin Stone, 56, said: ‘I just got out because I thought my house had exploded. The whole street thought so – it was surreal.
‘We were told by fire marshalls that they got taken to hospital with burns, I hope they’re ok.’
Shortly after 1pm, the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said the blaze had been extinguished and firefighters on the scene were making the area safe, as investigations into the cause of the blast continued.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue group manager Benjy Bush said they were not ruling out the possibility that a gas leak may have caused the explosion.
But he said it was too early to determine the cause and efforts were focused on securing the area after the ‘extensive and significant damage’ caused by the blast and subsequent fire.
Mr Bush added: ‘We don’t know yet what caused the fire. We were called to reports of an explosion and sent four fire engines which is our standard protocol.
‘There was extensive and significant damage to the building when we arrived. One elderly woman was being looked at by a neighbour, but everyone had escaped when we arrived.
‘Thankfully they all got out and are now recovering in hospital.’
One resident, Michael Dunn, said he got a phone call from his mother in Denholme, more than three miles from where the explosion took place, after she heard a ‘huge bang’.
Mr Dunn said: ‘Just had a call from my mother in Bradshaw, she heard a huge bang like an explosion upstairs so called up to see if everything was okay.
‘There were emergency services everywhere, and a five minute walk away this house had disappeared, it was heard and felt in Denholme.’
Today, aerial photographs showed the devastating damage caused by the explosion which could be heard more than three miles away and made an entire house ‘disappear’.
Footage from the scene revealed plumes of smoke billowing into the air and debris strewn across the street as firefighters tried to control the ‘remaining pockets of fire’ at the scene.
Police and rescue teams were able to extinguish the blaze shortly after 1pm today and remain on the scene to ensure the area is safe
A cordon remains in place at the scene as investigation continue into the cause of the explosion in Halifax this morning
Debris was left scattered on the road following the explosion in the Illingworth area of Halifax this morning which left three people injured
Firefighters have been trying to secure the area after the ‘extensive and significant damage’ caused by the blast and subsequent fire
The explosion destroyed one building, but residents in six surrounding houses were also forced to flee their homes as a safety precaution
Moments after the blast, one resident took to social media to write: ‘I am only half awake but either something just exploded near by or we had an earthquake.’
The fire crews are working with West Yorkshire Police and Yorks Ambulance, Calderdale Council and utility companies to deal with the aftermath of the explosion.
The incident was initially attended by crews from Fairweather Green, Halifax and Odsal with specialist units from Cleckheaton and Dewsbury.
A large cordon also remains in place and the fire service said crews are likely to be on the scene for some time.
Earlier this morning, a spokesperson for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘The fire on Green Lane in Illingworth has now been extinguished and firefighters who are left on the scene are currently making the area safe.
‘Crews continue to work with partner agencies including the Police, Calderdale Council, utility companies and health and safety executive. Investigations are continuing into the cause of the explosion.
‘They are working with Police, Ambulance, the local authority and utility companies to deal with an explosion at a house.
‘Three people have been treated and have now been transported to hospital. All other persons are accounted for.
‘The incident was initially attended by fire engines from Fairweather Green, Halifax and Odsal with specialist units from Cleckheaton and Dewsbury.
‘Crews are dealing with any remaining pockets of fire and they are being extinguished should they appear. Firefighters are likely to be on the scene for some time.
‘The incident affected one building and six surrounding houses have been evacuated as a safety precaution. ‘
Meanwhile Northern gas network tweeted: ‘Our engineers are currently attending an incident in Green Lane, #Illingworth #Halifax. They’re working with @WYFRS @WestYorksPolice @Calderdale to ensure that the area is safe and to determine the cause of the incident.’
On Twitter, one local resident said: ‘Felt the explosion! Thought something had hit the house and only noticed the flames on the way back upstairs from checking everything. Fire looks to be out now.’
Police cars and fire crews are tackling the blaze which forced the residents of six surrounding homes to flee their properties
Residents were left in shock as flames engulfed the family home in Halifax this morning. It is not clear what caused the explosion
Fire crews rushed to the scene this morning after an explosion sparked a massive fire at a residential home
And another person, whose father had been evacuated, wrote: ‘It’s mad how everyone is fine. How do you anticipate an explosion like that and get out in time??? My dad’s been evacuated. Hoping to get back in later today.’
Following the blast, neighbours have begun a fundraising effort on Facebook for those involved in the blaze.
‘We from the Illingworth community should all come together and support this family as much as we can … let’s get this community support going as soon as possible,’ wrote one member of the public.
Some offered to donate clothes and food to the family via local businesses and charities.
One person added: ‘Does anyone know what’s needed etc, I don’t live far away if. We can help in Anyway we will!’