Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Investigations under way at Bentley gas explosion flats

The damaged flats
Image caption The explosion caused damage to a ground floor and a first-floor flat

Investigations are continuing to determine the cause of a gas explosion at a block of flats for the elderly in South Yorkshire.

Leslie Welch remains in hospital after suffering serious burns in the incident at Epworth Court in Bentley on Sunday.

Two of the 14 flats were damaged and the two-storey building may have to be demolished.

Doncaster Council said one resident had been moved to a care home. Others were staying with friends or relatives.

One resident was unaccounted for but was thought to have been staying away from his flat at the time of the explosion.

A later search of the building confirmed he was not inside.

Mr Welch's daughter, Michelle Welch, told BBC Look North that her father, who lived in a bottom-floor flat, had staggered from his home to her house a few streets away.

"He came round with his hair all singed and his clothes burned," she added.

Mr Welch was originally taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary and later transferred to a specialist unit at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital where he is said to be making good progress.

Door jammed

One resident, Ricky Mather, told BBC News: "I'm lucky, I'm sat here. There's a guy in hospital now that isn't.

"I actually thought a car had run into the side of the building. But when I tried to get outside I couldn't get out because the door frame had jammed."

Cathy Doherty, whose 84-year-old father lives in a ground floor flat, said: "Thank god he's fine. I come here every day to see my dad so I know a lot of the people in the flats and I just hope everybody's fine."

Doncaster Council's director of neighbourhoods and communities, Jane Miller, said the authority was working closely with South Yorkshire Housing Association, who own the properties, to assess the "individual care needs" of residents.

Sharron Dyett, the Association's housing services director, said: "The site is being made safe and we are working with the fire service to find out the cause of the explosion."

Chapel Street, nearby side roads and the A19 High Street were closed to traffic for several hours, but reopened overnight.

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