Washington gas explosion: Emergency services continue to investigate cause of blast which left one man in hospital

Inquiries into the cause of a suspected gas explosion at a block of flats in Washington which left one man needing hospital treatment are continuing today.

By Fiona Thompson
Tuesday, 02 April, 2019, 12:09

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, the North East Ambulance Service and Northumbria Police were called to Collingwood Court in Sulgrave, Washington, just before noon yesterday.

The damage caused to Collingwood Court in the suspected gas explosion.

One man was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital, but his injuries are not thought to be serious, while another person was also helped at the scene, but did not need further treatment.

A window was blown out, with the blast causing bricks from the outer wall of the block of flats to fall from the third floor of the four-storey block into the gardens below.

A cordon was thrown around the complex while investigations were carried out and the area was made safe, while residents evacuated on safety grounds were served coffee, tea and biscuits by management staff of the complex.

Photos released by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service show damage caused in the suspected gas blast.

Northern Gas Networks isolated the gas and electricity supply in the area to ensure there was no further risk to people and properties, while residents evacuated on safety grounds were served coffee, tea and biscuits by management staff of the complex.

Some said they had heard a bang caused by the explosion, with the emergency services knocking on doors to clear properties nearby in the aftermath of the blast.

Today, a Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “At 11.59am on Monday, April 1, police received a report of a suspected gas explosion at a property on Collingwood Court, Washington.

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Firefighters on the scene while the cordon was still in place and inquiries into the cause got under way.

“Enquiries are ongoing to determine the circumstances around the incident.

“A man was taken to hospital as a precaution, but nobody is believed to be seriously injured.

“Anyone with information which might help officers is encouraged to get in touch with police via 101 and quote reference number 445 01/04/19."

A spokesman for Sunderland City Council added: "Council building control officers have been at the site and are working closely with the owners.

Debris could be seen inside the flat involved in the suspected gas explosion in photos released by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

"The building is not currently considered to be a major public safety risk and the site’s owners are looking at their next steps."

The fire service's inquiries are also ongoing, with structural engineers assessing the safety of the block of flats.

A spokesperson added: "We'd like to thank our emergency services colleagues for their support and thank local residence for their patience."

The North East Ambulance Service sent two crews from its Hazardous Area Response Team and a double crewed ambulance to the scene.

Emergence services outside Collingwood Court following the incident.