Page last updated at 20:51 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Man hurt in double gas explosion

Damaged hospital building
The blast caused considerable damage to the site

A man is being treated in hospital for burns after two gas explosions at a former hospital in south Manchester.

The victim, a workman aged in his 40s, suffered injuries to his face, hand and back in a blast at the old Withington Hospital site in West Didsbury.

An hour later there was a second explosion, which is believed to have been caused by the first.

Nearby homes, schools and a police station were all evacuated but the cordon was lifted on Tuesday evening.

However, a cordon remains in place around the old hospital site, which is being turned into luxury apartments.

'Like a bomb'

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to investigate the cause of the blasts but it is thought a gas main may have been damaged during building work.

Two other people suffered minor injuries as a result of the explosions.

People described hearing a noise "like a bomb"

One woman who works in a nearby building said: "We just heard a huge bang, a huge noise like a bomb going off - the whole building shook."

Specialist teams from Greater Manchester Fire Service searched the area using sniffer dogs in the partially collapsed building.

But emergency services believe that all those living in properties on site have been accounted for and there are no reports of any further casualties.

Three buildings which are in use at the hospital were evacuated, said a spokesman for the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM).

Appointments cancelled

The trust cancelled all outpatient appointments for the remainder of the afternoon.

"We expect services to resume as normal from tomorrow, but a decision on this will be made in conjunction with other emergency services," said a spokesman.

Nell Lane remains closed between Princess Parkway and Elisabeth Slinger Road as the road is structurally unsafe, but residents can still get access.

Scene of blasts
Emergency services were called to the scene

Greater Manchester Police said all of the emergency services had sent "substantial resources" to the scene and thanked residents for their understanding.

Ch Supt Simon Barraclough said: "I want to thank everyone for their patience with this disruption but public safety is our main concern and we could only allow people back when we knew the site was safe.

"The people living at the site of the old hospital have been given alternative accommodation as the building has been deemed structurally unsafe and no one is allowed on to the site.

"Everyone is believed to have been accounted for now and thankfully there do not appear to be any more casualties."

Manchester City Council also paid tribute to the emergency services and other agencies for their "co-ordinated" response and hard work.

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South Manchester Reporter Gas pipe riddle over flats blast - 2 hrs ago
Manchester Evening News partially destroyed by a gas explosion - 8 hrs ago
Leigh Today Man hurt in hospital site blasts - 12 hrs ago
4NI Manchester Gas Explosions - 19 hrs ago Man injured in gas explosion at former Manchester hospital site - 21 hrs ago

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