Neighbours fought to free man crushed in house blast
NEIGHBOURS desperately tried to free a man after his house collapsed on top of him following a massive explosion.
The man was rushed to hospital with serious injuries as emergency services last night probed whether it was a gas explosion that gutted the two-storey house on Sullivan Street just off Infirmary Road beside the Phoenix Park on Dublin's northside.
The loud bang was heard several streets away and it caused extensive damage to the two adjoining houses.
Debris was fired over houses, some as far as 50 metres from the scene of the explosion, while glass and rubble littered the streets.
There was extensive damage also to a number of cars parked near the house.
An elderly couple who lived next door were said to be in shock last night after the explosion knocked out their sitting room wall where they had been watching television.
An investigation scene was set up by gardai and emergency services. Representatives from Bord Gais were also at the scene.
Bord Gais last night confirmed 10 houses had been evacuated due to the structural damage of the primary site and neighbouring buildings but said there were no gas network issues in the immediate area.
The agency stated: "Bord Gais Networks technical crews are assisting the authorities and emergency services to establish the cause of the incident.
"The gas supply to all areas, except the immediate vicinity of the incident, has not been affected."
A number of shocked residents told of how they heard "a massive bang", with one neighbour saying she thought that a bomb had gone off.
Another neighbour said some of the residents had entered the house after the explosion to try and free the man, who was aged 58, who had been entirely buried by the rubble.
"As soon as the explosion happened, a few men ran into the house to try and get him but he was totally buried under it," one neighbour said.
"The ambulances were here in no time at all but it wasn't until they arrived that he was freed."
A fire erupted following the explosion, which the fire services extinguished before the man, who lived alone, was freed.
Neighbours said he was responsive and was able to speak, before being taken to the Mater Hospital.