Community pulled together after gas blast devastated house

Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope house gas explosion
Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope house gas explosion
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The aftermath of the huge blast saw the community pull together.

Ryhope Community Centre, in Black Road, became refuse for local residents displaced by the exlposion and The Guide Post also helped people who had been affected

Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope house gas explosion
The Guide Post landlady Julie Dawart

Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope house gas explosion The Guide Post landlady Julie Dawart

The landlady of the local pub spoke of how she froze on the spot as the blast happened, before opening up her doors to those displaced by the explosion.

Still in shock, Julie Dewart, who has been running The Guide Post, in Ryhope Street South, for just over a year, rushed to the shop to get tea, coffee, milk and sugar and started handing out refreshments.

She even administered First Aid to a woman who lives in the house attached to the stricken property.

Julie said: “I just heard a bang. I froze because I didn’t know what had happened. I was standing in the middle of the pub. I actually thought the explosion was in the pub itself as it was so loud. The bang was so loud and it’s an old pub, it rattles even when a bus goes past.

“I went out the side door and that’s when I saw people running.

“The girl next door came in. She hurt her foot when she ran outside. I got some sterile water and cotton wool to bathe her foot.”

Those affected by the explosion have been converging on Ryhope Community Centre, in Black Road.

Police officers have been taking statements at the venue as they look to piece together exactly what happened in the incident.

Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope house gas explosion

Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope house gas explosion

Some residents have kindly handed in supplies of clothes and toiletries to help out.

Janine Munroe, of Ryhope, was one person who donated items.

“I know the people who live in the houses there so I wanted to help out,” she said.

“I’ve got some clothes and nappies if anyone needs them because people have been made to get out of their homes and they might not be allowed back for a while.

“I thought it was the right thing to do to pass things on.”

The Salvation Army also deployed its emergency response unit to serve refreshments and offer to support to those evacuated following the blast.

It’s nearby homeless shelter, Swan Lodge Lifehouse in High Street East, also prepared sandwiches for the mobile canteen.

Minister Major Stephen Slade, who is based at the South Shields Salvation Army in Wawn Street, led the team of volunteers, who were on the scene from 10.30 am to make teas, coffees and distribute sandwiches.

Major Slade said: “Since we arrived this morning, we’ve been providing reassurance and practical support, offering refreshments and a listening ear to anyone who needs it.

“My colleague Gwen Hall also brought toys to the nearby rest centre to occupy the children while they wait on updates with their families.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this incident and we will continue to be here to support people long after this incident concludes.”