Ladywood house explosion: Man suffers serious burn injuries
A man has suffered serious burn injuries after the two-storey house he is believed to have been inside was destroyed in a suspected gas explosion.
Dramatic pictures from the scene in the Ladywood area of Birmingham show the upper floor of the terraced home reduced to a smoking ruin.
Emergency services were called to reports of an explosion at the property, which is in the middle of a residential street, just after 12.10pm.
Two people, a man and a woman, are believed to have been inside the house at the time of the incident, the ambulance service said.
The man suffered serious burn injuries and is being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, while the woman was discharged by paramedics at the scene.
West Midlands Police, who have evacuated a small number of homes nearby, confirmed the man had suffered "serious" injuries.
A spokeswoman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "Crews arrived to find a house that had collapsed following a suspected explosion. Other neighbouring properties had also been damaged.
"One woman, who was believed to have been in the property at the time of the explosion had managed to get out of the building herself despite the damage. She was assessed by ambulance staff and discharged at the scene.
"A second patient, a man, who was also believed to have been in the property at the time of the incident had made his own way to City Hospital. The aircrew and critical care paramedic attended the hospital, where the man was being treated for serious burn injuries.
"Due to his condition the man was conveyed, via land ambulance, to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. The trauma doctor travelled on board the ambulance continuing to provide emergency care whilst en route.
"The Hazardous Area Response Team remain on scene at the incident."
An ambulance, the Hazardous Area Response Team, a paramedic support officer, a critical care paramedic in a rapid response vehicle and the Midlands Air Ambulance attended the scene.
West Midlands Police said: "We were called to Wiggin Street in Edgbaston just after 12.20pm following reports of an explosion at a house.
"A man has been taken to hospital with serious injuries. West Midlands Fire Service are at the scene and will investigate what happened.
"A small number of homes close to the scene have been evacuated as a precaution."
A spokesman for West Midlands Fire Service said: "We got the call at 12.10 today to Wiggin Street in Ladywood.
"We sent four fire engines and a hydraulic platform. It is a suspected gas explosion at a two-storey mid-terrace house."
The fire brigade said a structural engineer from Birmingham City Council was due to assess the damage.
West Midlands Fire Service said 20 firefighters attended the scene, with fire investigators and members of the Technical Rescue Unit also involved.
A spokesman added: " An initial report described the roof of the house as having been 'blown off' and that much of the remaining property had been reduced to rubble.
"It is believed that at least two people were in the house at the time - a woman who was treated by the ambulance service at the scene and a man who is in a serious condition in hospital.
"Utility companies have been called to the address, plus a city council structural engineer.
"Firefighting at the scene was suspended pending the engineer's assessment of damage to the terraced house and neighbouring properties."
In total, three properties have been affected by the incident.
A couple from another house are unable to return home for "the time being", as well as a woman from a third property, the fire service said.
Station Commander Dave Janes, the incident commander, said: "There was a significant fire in a rear single-storey part of the building, but we've yet to establish the precise order of events.
"We had to be very mindful of how much water we used because of the building's instability.
"Gas and electricity have been isolated and, from around 3pm, our resources at the scene will be scaled down to one fire engine and five firefighters.
"However, we expect to be at the scene for several more hours, and will be taking a decision in due course as to whether operations will be able to continue after dark."