ROKER EXPLOSION: Son feared 'dad was dead' after suspected gas blast ripped through neighbouring home

A son has revealed how he feared his dad had been killed after a suspected gas blast ripped through his neighbouring home.

One man was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital and another to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary. Police said on Tuesday evening that their injuries were not deemed to be life-threatening, however on Wednesday morning they said that one man’s condition had since deteriorated and that he is currently in a critical but stable condition.

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Gentoo said two of its properties were damaged as an investigation into the cause of the blast continued on Thursday morning.

The damage caused by the suspected gas explosion.

John Waterworth lives next door to where the blast happened – but thankfully, he was at work at the time.

But his son, John Ellis, feared the worst when he learned what had happened.

Mr Ellis told the Echo: "I got a phone call at approximately 4.30pm to say there had been a big explosion at the flat or in the area.

Resident John Waterworth lives next door to the property destroyed in the explosion.

"My dad normally works night shift so I was thinking if he was in the house. Luckily he's just started a new job and has been on two days of training.

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"He wasn't answering initially because he was at his new job, but luckily he picked up and it was sheer relief - I thought he was dead to be honest. I picked him up from work and we rushed down here and you can see it's been completely decimated.

"It looks like a gas leak, the guy next door, on his flat the roof's off, the front's collapsed, the back's collapsed, the wall between my flat and his flat is gone. It just like something out a war zone, it looks like a bomb's hit it.”

Mr Waterworth, who lives next door to the destroyed property said he spent Wednesday night at a friend’s address in Newcastle and had no idea when he would be able to return home.

He added: “My son phoned me when I was at work because he thought I was in the house. I've just started a new job so he thought I would be in.

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"He just told me there had been some damage in Whickham Street. The lad next door, we're trying to find out what happened to him, I heard he's been taken to hospital but we're none the wiser.”