Glasgow & West Scotland

Kilsyth explosion in building site badly damages homes

Police respond to explosion in Kilsyth
Image caption Debris from a controlled blast exceeded the safety exclusion zone

A number of homes have been damaged - some of them severely - after an explosion at a nearby building site in Kilsyth, North Lanarkshire.

The incident involved a controlled blast at a site operated by Dawn Homes, off Kilsyth's Stirling Road.

Emergency services were called to the scene at about 1420 BST. Police said no-one had been injured and about five homes had been damaged.

One resident said it was "a miracle" no-one had been hurt.

Some of the people living next to the site told the BBC they had been warned by Dawn Homes that the explosion would take place to clear rocks from the quarry, where new homes are planned.

But Robert Blair, of Ladeside Drive, said: "The only warning I got was a long foghorn blast which I assumed was a lorry tooting its horn.

"It wasn't until the two short blasts afterwards I realised that it was the warning sound of an imminent explosion.

"If I'd been outside I'd probably have been dead given the size of some of the pieces of boulder littering the street and smashing through folks houses."'

'Horrific' noise

Jean Fleming, who lives on Stirling Road, said rocks were blasted out of the quarry and flung over the rooftops.

She said: "There was the most massive explosion. The noise was horrific. Absolutely deafening.

"The rocks went right over the house - you could see them being blasted across the roof.

"Everyone is shocked and very traumatised."

Mrs Fleming said her house had a smashed window, broken roof tiles and a broken circuit board.

Her neighbour, Betty Wilson, saw her roof broken and a rock fall into her shower.

Mrs Wilson added: "If I had been in the shower I would be dead. A brick came through the roof."

In a statement, Dawn Homes said debris from a controlled blast had exceeded the perimeter of the safety exclusion zone set by specialist blasting contractors on site.

"There has been some damage to local properties and Dawn Homes regrets any inconvenience to those neighbours and local people affected," it said.

Image caption Pieces of rock went straight through the roofs of some properties

"Safety is of utmost importance to Dawn Homes and the company is taking this incident very seriously."

The company said it would co-operate fully with the police investigation and was also undertaking its own probe into the incident.

Yvonne Ross, who lives in nearby Ladeside Drive, saw the damage to houses on her estate after she arrived home with her children

She told BBC Scotland: "The police and fire brigade were here when I got back. The street was cordoned off and they were checking everyone's house.

"Rocks from the explosion went through the roofs of houses. In one case a boulder went right through into the lounge.

"One of bricks has broken our front step but the damage is quite minor. It must have travelled quite a distance to reach my door."

Mrs Ross said debris from the explosion went right through a brick wall in one garden and "right through a conservatory and bathroom wall" in another home.

She added: "No-one has been injured which is quite surprising really. It's a total miracle."

Casualty search

Strathclyde Police said it was believed a total of five homes in Ladeside Drive, opposite the quarry, had been damaged by debris.

A spokesman said: "No-one has been injured and an investigation is underway to establish what has happened.

Image caption Health and safety officers are to examine the explosion site

"The quarry site has been secured by police."

A spokesman for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said: "Fire crews were immediately tasked with searching the dwellings for any casualties, evacuating the immediate area of non-emergency services personnel and instigating a 300m [984ft] hazard zone in liaison with the police.

"It was subsequently confirmed that, thankfully, no members of the public had suffered any injuries."

Health and safety officers were expected to attend the scene on Friday.

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