Fire officers are praising the work of the emergency services following a gas explosion at a bungalow in Newcastle at the weekend.

Shortly after 2pm on Saturday 21st July 2012 Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service's Control Room received the first of a number of calls to a reported gas explosion at Huntcliffe Gardens in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Fire crews arrived within a couple of minutes of the call and were met with a scene of utter devastation, with the complete collapse of a single storey property and extensive damage to adjoining properties.

A total of five fire appliances and a special rescue tender, used in structural collapses, attended the incident, two from North Tyneside South Community Fire Station in Wallsend, one from Newcastle North Community Fire Station in Gosforth, one (and the special rescue emergency tender) from South Tyneside West Community Fire Station in Hebburn and one from North Tyneside East Community Fire Station in North Shields.

Firefighters quickly established that one casualty was trapped within the collapse under displaced masonry and the timber roof structure, and were able to provide an access route for North East Ambulance Service's paramedics and Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) to determine the nature and extent of the casualty's injuries.

Firefighters were then able to physically clear the bricks and roof structure from the casualty and assist medical crews to immobilise the casualty and remove him from the debris to a place of safety using a spinal board.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service also had an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) advisor at the scene throughout the entire operation and specialist teams on standby to conduct a brick by brick displacement of the site should intelligence have indicated that more people were unaccounted for.

Group Manager Graham Smith, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, attended the incident. He said: "I would like to praise all the emergency services for their swift response and actions under challenging conditions. Fire crews, ambulance staff and police officers worked closely together to make the area safe and to rescue the casualty. Such successful joint working between emergency responders comes as a result of considerable training and emergency response exercises to prepare for such exceptional events."

The casualty is currently recovering in hospital. An investigation into the cause of the gas explosion is being carried out by the police and gas board.


Posted July 24th, 2012 at 1055 by Andrew. Comment by emailing