Pensioner in escape from house blast
A West Belfast pensioner was today lucky to be alive after his home was ripped apart in a suspected gas explosion.
George Collins miraculously escaped the blast which completely destroyed his bungalow in Glaswey Gardens, Twinbrook.
The pensioner was today being treated in hospital for injuries to his arms and back at the Royal Victoria Hospital after he was pulled from the rubble of his home by neighbours and emergency services.
Just one wall of the house was left standing this morning while the roof was almost torn off by the force of the explosion, which happened at around 11.30pm.
Neighbour Sean Catney was at home when he heard the explosion.
He said: "I thought it was a blast bomb outside my window. I thought some kids had thrown something.
"He must have been injured because he had bandages on his arms and chest.
"I think he was traumatised, he didn't know where he was.
"I was told they had to get George out of the house through the window."
Rosaleen Lowry, who lives adjacent to the damaged property, said: "It was like a very low rumble and a big boom. My husband thought it was a car crash. He's a very lucky man to be alive."
Neighbour Henry Hall said: "I thought it was a bomb. I heard this massive boom and jumped on to the floor.
"I'm surprised the windows didn't come in in my house.
"I hear a lot of crashes here from the road and I thought it was a heavy lorry or something.
"The shock takes a couple of seconds for you to figure out what's going on. How he got out alive I don't know."
An elderly next-door neighbour of Mr Collins was also taken to hospital for treatment for shock following the explosion.
The scene remains sealed off and police officers remain present.