Witnesses have reported the terrifying moment a house ‘exploded’ meters from where they were standing.
A huge emergency services response is in place in Brownley Road, Wythenshawe, this evening following a serious incident at around 6.30pm. Residents reported hearing a ‘huge explosion’ coming from a property on the street that ‘shook their houses like an earthquake’.
Large numbers of fire crews and police officers are in place in the street, with a cordon in place opposite Crossacres tram stop. Residents living nearby have been evacuated, with those closest to the house given temporary accommodation overnight.
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Fire crews have focused their investigations on one property, which has a huge hole in the front of it. It is not known if anyone has been injured as of yet.
Witnesses have now told the Manchester Evening News of the moment of the explosion. One man, Matt Muncaster, 27, said there was ‘an almighty bang’ as the tram turned to get into Crossacres.
“As I got off and looked at the house, there was instantly loads of smoke. All the windows were blown out and the glass was all over the road,” he said.
“I ran over and a neighbor was shouting the name of the man who lives there, to try and get an idea of if he was conscious and at home. Me and another gentleman tried to kick the door down but couldn’t get enough force to kick it in.”
Mr Muncaster, who said he believed it could have been a gas explosion, said there was a huge emergency services response within minutes.
“Within 10 minutes there was 3 fire engines there, around 10 or 12 police cars, with the officers evacuating nearby houses and asking onlookers to distance themselves from the house as some firemen were hosing water through where the upstairs window was, just in case there was a live fire in the building that we couldn’t see.
“At the same time there was more firemen trying to enter the house and managed to get in pretty quickly. Then around 4 or 5 ambulances were on the scene within the next 10-15 minutes. From this point I had to leave the scene to get home but all that is what happened within 30 minutes of it happening.”
Residents have been evacuated nearby and offered hot drinks in the nearby church. Richard Walker, Deacon of the Brownley Green Baptist church, was taking a meter reading when the explosion happened. He opened up and started offering cups of tea, biscuits and warmth for people living nearby. “It’s what we do. It’s about supporting the community. We heard the explosion and saw all the smoke and immediately went back inside. I legged it to Asda to get milk and snacks for everyone.”
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “At around 6.30pm today (31 March), crews were called to reports of a fire at a domestic property on Brownley Road in Manchester. Four fire engines from Bolton North, Cheadle, Wythenshawe and Stockport stations, and the Technical Rescue Unit from Ashton attended.
“Firefighters assessed the scene and are using breathing apparatus and hose reels to control the fire and make the scene safe. Crews are working with colleagues from Greater Manchester Police and North West Ambulance Service and are currently still on the scene.” GMP have been contacted for further information.