'Pipe rupture' caused Tesco explosion in Walkden

Image caption,
The surrounding areas were evacuated after the blast

A suspected explosion at a Tesco store in Greater Manchester was caused by a pressurised gas pipe rupturing, a company spokesman has said.

Eight people - including a pregnant woman - were hurt in the incident at the company's new store in Bolton Road, Walkden, at 1520 GMT on Sunday.

Hundreds of shoppers were evacuated and the store remained closed until 1600 GMT when it was due to shut.

Tesco said a joint in the pipe feeding a refrigeration unit failed.

The spokesman said some shoppers had suffered damage to their ears when the pipe burst, making a loud noise.

Others were injured in the rush to get out of the store, he said.

Eyewitnesses had reported seeing smoke in the store but the spokesman denied this, saying it had been gas from the pipe.

He said the company would be inspecting the pipe and joint.

The store reopened at midnight and the refrigeration unit remains out of use.

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