Partner of gas blast victim says fridge saved her life

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The partner of a women injured when a gas explosion ripped through her home said the fridge saved her life.

Susan Shepherd, 40, had a miraculous escape when a gas explosion ripped through her home, razing it to the ground.

Steve Morley, partner of Susan Shepherd injured in a gas blast at her home.

Steve Morley, partner of Susan Shepherd injured in a gas blast at her home.

Her partner, Steve Morley, 56, said she only survived because she was getting something out of the fridge at the time of the blast.

He said: "She’s not in a good way to be honest.

“Shes in an induced coma, she’s got quite a lot of burns to her hands and she had quite a knock to her head.

“I think they're going to keep her in an induced coma for a few days to see what happens.

The remains of the two houses devastated by a gas explosion in Rosslyn Avenue.

The remains of the two houses devastated by a gas explosion in Rosslyn Avenue.

“They dont know what happened to cause it, but she must have been in the fridge with the door open and the whole house has just come down on her.

“Its been a miracle she survived.”

He said luckily Susan's two children, Kyle, 19, and Jasmine, nine, were not in the house at the time.

The house attached to Susan's had to be demolished because it was so badly damaged.

The house in Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope, where the gas blast happened.

The house in Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope, where the gas blast happened.

Neighbour, Linda King, said it is thought there was only one person in that house at the time and she was blown free from the house.

However, she said the family have lived there for more than two decades.

Linda said: "It is just devastating, I am in complete shock."

Susan's sister Tracy Judson, 52, posted on Facebook that "there must be a God somewhere" following the catastrophic blast which toppled her home.

Tracy confirmed that Susan had been airlifted to hospital after suffering burns - but her life had been saved due to a fridge falling on her during the explosion.

Tracy posted on Ryhope community Facebook page: "To everyone concerned about the explosion in Rosslyn Ave, there must be a God somewhere.

"How the hell can anyone survive that explosion, my sister Susan has been airlifted to hospital.

"She was conscious and talking - that's all I know for now.

"Thanks for everyone's kind words. Her daughter was with her dad."

Tracy went on to say Susan had burns to her "back, face and arms" and said she spoke to the hospital who were putting her sister in intensive care.

She added: "The fridge fell on top of her and saved her life.

"She's absolutely fine under the circumstances, she's got minor burns to her back, face and arms and her might need stitching thank God."

Susan's niece Jacqueline Seamen, 38, was shocked after being told mum-of-two Susan had been the only victim of the explosion.

NHS Head Chef Jacqueline, who lives around the corner from Susan, said: "I was walking up the stairs and I said to my daughter have you dropped my iPad?

"And she said no, and I thought nothing of it, until I went to work and found out it was Susan.

"Susan has got burns on her hands and body I think, I'm still waiting on more information to be honest.

Jacqueline said Susan's nine-year-old daughter would have also been staying at the property, but instead was luckily "having a sleepover at her dad's house".

She added that Susan's eldest child, a 19-year-old son, had also been out the house at the time.

Asked about Susan, Jacqueline said: "Susan is lovely, she honestly is. She is so polite and would do anything for anyone.

"I'm so pleased she's alive - not many people would have survived something like that."

She added: "You dread what to think if the daughter had been there.

"Susan had loads of rubble on top of her and had burns on her hands and body, but she's stable now - she's going to be ok."