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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
One dead in kebab shop gas blast
Glass and debris was blown 250m by the force of the blast

At least one person died in a gas explosion at a kebab shop in Hull in which three other people were hurt.

Three premises were badly damaged in the blast at Bishop Alcock Road in the early hours of Thursday which could be heard up to five miles away.

About 20 families had to leave their homes and up to 30 houses were damaged.

Police said the body of an unidentified male was recovered from the wrecked shop on Thursday evening after engineers had made the building safe.

A Humberside Fire Service spokesman had earlier said the body was trapped under tonnes of collapsed roofing.

He said it was still possible other bodies might be found in the rubble and searches would resume on Friday.

Forensic examination

Humberside Police said: "The block of shops and flats have now been made sufficiently safe for the recovery of the body within the premises."

A post mortem examination was expected to be carried out on Thursday night.

"Examination of the scene by forensic experts will continue and residents are warned that the process may take several days because of the level of destruction," said the force spokesman.

"The local community are asked to be patient during this process."

Police also revealed that a burglary was reported at the kebab shop on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, during which cash was stolen.

We saw a flash and a huge bang and everything was on fire
Local resident

A joint investigation into the blast has been launched, involving the fire service, police, Hull City Council and the Health and Safety Executive.

Shortly after the explosion at 0255 BST, fire crews rescued a man and woman who were trapped in a "severe fire" in two separate flats above the shop.

They were taken to Hull Royal Infirmary, along with a third person, but their injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

Security shutters on the windows of the shops at the centre of the incident were blown 250m by the force of the explosion and many vehicles were showered with debris.

Aerial view of the scene of the gas explosion courtesy of Humberside Police
A body is trapped under rubble at the back of the premises

A spokesman for United Gas Utilities said it was one of the worst explosions he had seen but he was not aware of residents reporting gas in the area in recent weeks.

"It's still too early to say exactly what could have caused this incident," he said.

"Residents can be assured we would respond to every single call we get reporting a smell of gas."

Local residents said the explosion was deafening.

One woman told BBC News she was woken in bed by the blast.

"We saw a flash and a huge bang and everything was on fire," she said.

"I was terrified. I didn't know what was going on. I thought there was a bomb in the garden or something."

Another resident added: "We saw flames out of the bedroom window. It was really scary and we just panicked."


Your comments:

We were awoken at 3am by the blast. It was so loud I thought it was a bomb going off. I saw the shops this morning as I tried to get to work. The road was blocked off and there were people standing in the street just staring in disbelief at the devastation it caused.
Heather, Hull

I used to live near there as a boy so know the area very well. I heard the 'boom' 20 miles away in Hornsea, around 3am.
Mal Pearson, Hornsea, UK

I live very close by so the bang was extremely loud. The whole house shook. At first we weren't sure what it was and neither did the whole street. People were coming out of their houses after being woken up wondering what had happened, then we heard the sirens so we knew it was something quite close.
Anon

It's the scariest thing hearing and seeing a gas blast. There was one recently in Southall which happened right in front of me while I was on my way to college. It's horrific. My deepest sympathy goes out to the families as the hardship starts after the blast, knowing you can't go back to your own house hurts the most. May the Lord make it easy for you all.
Adeel Chaudhry, Southall, Middlesex

I was on the phone to my boyfriend at the time and heard a loud bang from outside. We dismissed it as a car backfiring, but now I know it was the shop exploding. Shows how loud it really was - I don't even live in Hull. So sorry for the families of those effected.
Rachel Lane, Cottingham

I feel sorry about the people and their houses. I hope they get re-built.
Corey, Goole

I live nearby and the blast woke me. My boyfriend jumped to the window but there was nothing to be seen. We could here sirens and loads of car alarms going off. It was a shock to see what had happened this morning. We always used to hang around those shops at night. Lucky it wasn't that night. Hope everyone's ok and deepest sympathy for the deceased.
Tara Craft, Hull, England

I would just like to say that I feel for the families. My grandparents live in the flats above the shops and were lucky to get away unharmed but very shaken. When we were younger we used to go there every week and this is one of the safest places I know. It is a shame and I wish everyone is fine and will pull through this.
Anon

I was at a friend's house on 5th Avenue, North Hull and it shook the back windows of his house. We all ran outside to see what it was but it was a mystery until this morning. It sounded like a firework had gone off close to the house.
Lea Szarvas, Hull, England

The blast woke us, but I thought it sounded like a train crash the impact was that great. There was a lot of confusion at first as to what had/was happening. The area this morning looked totally devastated, luckilly we are at the rear of these buildings on the cycle track and did not incurr any damage.
Denny Greening, Hull

I live alone with my three children, very close to the kebab shop. They have the larger bedrooms at the front of the house. After hearing a huge bang, I got out of bed and went to the front of the house to see what had happened. I couldn't believe the devestation outside, I thought I was dreaming. My main concern was getting my children out safely. My house suffered some damage, but luckily the windows were intact. I'm just relieved that my family is safe and my heart goes out to the people who were injured and sadly worse.
Rebecca Byford, Hull, England



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The damage caused at the scene of the blast



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