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Pensioners injured after massive blast destroys house

Two pensioners have been taken to hospital following an explosion which totally demolished a house.

Emergency services were called to the incident at Murdiston Avenue in Callander, near Stirling, at around 6am.

Central Scotland police said a 74-year-old woman was taken to Forth Valley Royal Infirmary and a 77-year-old man was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary . Their conditions are not known.

Nine houses in Murdiston Avenue and nearby Aveland Road have been evacuated. Stirling Council has set up a rest centre in the town.

Chief Inspector Russell Penman said: "The house has been totally demolished as a result of the explosion.

"We are treating this as a suspected gas leak and inquiries are at a very early stage to establish the cause. Scotland Gas Networks are in attendance and working with us."

Eric Brown, proprietor of the nearby Roman Camp Hotel, said: "I heard a loud bang at around 5.45am this morning.

"The hotel is set quite far back from the road so it wasn't particularly loud from where we are, but it was enough to wake me up.

"I understand that a lot of houses have been evacuated."

Neighbour Alistair Allan, who lives across the road, told STV News: "We were all woken up at 6.30am by this almighty bang. I looked out the window and the house across the road was on fire. I ran across and the elderly gentleman was under rubble, I think in the kitchen, and his wife was in another part of the house.

"I could hear her calling out for help. She was saying 'I can't take it any more'.

"The firefighters were there very quickly. They got the woman out through a window and I think the man was out after about 15 or 20 minutes.

"My daughter came in last night about 8.30pm and said there was a strong smell of gas in the street but we didn't think anything of it at the time."

Claire Luti, a partner in nearby Dreadnought Garage, said: "I live at the other end of town so I didn't hear the explosion, but I heard the helicopter that was sent to take them (the man) to hospital. They are an elderly couple in their 70s who are quite well known in the town."

A Central Scotland Police spokeswoman said the woman is in Forth Valley Royal Infirmary with minor injuries and the man was airlifted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

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