Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Monday, 16 June 2008 19:09 UK

House explosion causes large fire

Explosion at house
The building was converted into flats

An explosion at a house in the West Midlands has caused a "significant fire", emergency crews said.

The force of the blast demolished the ground floor of the house in Smethwick and blew windows "30 yards down the street", West Midlands Ambulance said.

It is not yet known what caused the explosion at the three-story, terraced house in Edgbaston Road.

Three people were initially reported missing but were later accounted for at an airport, the ambulance service said.

'Fierce fire'

Crews were called to the scene at about 1655 BST.

An urban search-and-rescue team was sent to check no-one was trapped but was stood down when the residents were accounted for.

The Victorian building had been converted into flats.

Steve Wheaton, head of specialist operations at the ambulance service, said: "It has suffered extensive damage from a fierce fire, some of the windows are lying a significant distance from the property.

"Initially it was not known if the three people, two women and a man, who live there were inside. Thankfully, they have now been accounted for."


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