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Man pulled from electrical explosion in Plymouth flat

By This is Devon  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

  • Hero Tom Doidge

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A man is in hospital with "serious" burns following a horror blast at a city flat.

The 67-year-old was rescued from the smoking property by an heroic neighbour after an electricity cupboard exploded in front of him.

Police, paramedics and firefighters were sent to Ham Drive following reports of two explosions shortly after 12.30pm yesterday.

Around 100 homes lost power in the aftermath of the incident.

The blast victim, who fire crews said was the landlord of the ground-floor flat, suffered burns to around 25 per cent of his body.

He was due to be transferred to a specialist burns unit in either Bristol or Swansea, police said last night.

Quick-thinking pensioner Tom Doidge, who was returning from shopping, was first on the scene.

The 71-year-old went into the flat as smoke billowed from the door to lead the injured man out.

Watch Manager Marc Creswell, of Plympton fire station, who was in charge of the incident, said the landlord's clothes had been "burnt off" in the explosion.

He added that two tenants who were in the flat at the time – a man and a woman – were unhurt and had escaped the building.

Two firemen wearing breathing apparatus were sent into the flat to extinguish the flames.

Police closed off a section of Ham Drive until around 4pm.

Western Power Distribution staff were also called to the scene to isolate the electricity supply.

A spokesperson for the company said a total of 94 customers had been taken off the supply.

They added that the company would be investigating the cause of the explosion.

A fire investigation team was also called to the scene to establish its cause.

Quick-thinking hero came to rescue

Heroic pensioner Tom Doidge described the chilling moment he stumbled across the unfolding drama.

The 71-year-old, who lives in nearby Merrivale Road, said: "The front door was open and thick acrid smoke was filling the hallway and pouring out, you couldn't see much.

"There was a man very badly burnt standing up and mumbling, so I carefully guided him out into the street and away from the smoke.

"I told him not to panic but I didn't want to touch his body in case it harmed him.

"His arms and hands were very sore. His legs looked badly burnt and his clothes were in tatters."

Quick-thinking Mr Doidge also alerted the occupants of the flat above to the danger.

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  • Tony248  |  September 06 2012, 10:58AM

    Hmmmmm............ what's the betting he was doing something he shouldn't have? Normally even on a short circuit the supply fuse blows without any drama.... instead it seems to have affected the substation!

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