A MAN was rushed to hospital suffering from burns after explosions at a house.
Emergency services were called to reports of an explosion at a semi-detached house in Dawson Road, Wingate, yesterday morning.
Fire chiefs say the man, aged 36, approached them with burns to his hands and face moments before a second blast took place, with flames coming out of the bedroom window.
The side of the house began to collapse and fire chiefs decided it was not safe to send firefighters inside and the blaze was tackled from outside.
A 300ft cordon was placed around the property and residents from around a dozen neighbouring properties were evacuated from their homes.
They were allowed to return around an hour later once it was established that there was no further risk.
The man’s mother was also treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and is said to have gone to James Cook University Hospital with her son.
The man was later transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and a police and fire investigation is underway to determine the cause, but it does not appear suspicious at this stage.
Crew manager Ben Wilson said the explosion was “enough to make me jump”.
He added: “When we first got there, the man approached me with a badly burned face and hands.
“I was about to send two breathing apparatus-wearing crew members into the property when there was an explosion.
“A number of flames were coming from the bedroom so we got water onto it.
“The side of the building started to collapse and the gable end of the wall had blown off. “The stairs in the house were unsafe and I was not willing to risk sending my crews in.”
A Durham Police spokesman said: “Emergency services were called to a semi-detached property in Dawson Road, Wingate at around 8.15am yesterday after reports of an explosion in one of the bedrooms.
“The immediate neighbouring properties were evacuated as a precaution, but residents were allowed back into their homes within the hour once it was established there was no further risk.
“A 36-year-old man who was in the bedroom at the time suffered serious burns and was taken initially to the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough before being transferred to the RVI in Newcastle.
“His mother, who was also in the property at the time, has accompanied him to hospital but is not thought to have received any injuries herself.”
An engineer from Northern Gas Networks attended the scene but a spokesman said everything was secure and gas works at the house were not the cause.
Two fire crews from Peterlee and one from Wheatley Hill attended the scene.
Two ambulances also attended, one was a standard double-paramedic crew and the other was the HART (Hazardous Area Response Team) unit, which is called to major incidents, though it was not needed once the scale of the explosion was confirmed.