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Gas Explosion In Callandar, Scotland Destroys House And Hospitalises Elderly Couple (PICTURES)

28/03/2013 14:42 GMT | Updated 28/03/2013 15:09 GMT

Neighbours have described the scene of devastation caused by a suspected gas explosion which put an elderly couple in hospital and destroyed most of their house.

Residents said they were woken by a "loud bang" early in the morning following the incident in Murdiston Avenue in Callander, near Stirling.

Robin Cunningham, 77, was airlifted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary after being rescued from the blast site. He is said to be in a stable condition.

gas explosion scotland

The elderly residents miraculously survived the blast

Marianne Cunningham, 74, was taken to Forth Valley Royal Infirmary and has now been released.

Alastair Allan, 47, who lives across the road from the house, said his 16-year-old daughter Nicola alerted him to the explosion.

He was then one of the first people on the scene, answering calls for help from inside the collapsed house.

"We were in bed at 5.30am this morning and were woken with this horrendous bang," he said.

"My daughter shouted across to me that the house across the road had been demolished and was on fire.

"I called the emergency services and went across to see if they were OK and thankfully they are alive but I don't know the condition of them."

Describing the scene, he said: "I totally couldn't believe it, to be honest. It's a gas explosion, I take it, so there is no wonder there is the devastation that there is here.

"The two occupants were shouting for help - 'Get me out' and 'I can't take this any longer, get me out, get me out' - but there was no doubt we had to leave it to the fire service to get them out."

Mr Allan's house was cordoned off and he was told he could not get back inside until safety checks have been carried out.

Nine houses in the avenue and nearby Aveland Road were evacuated following the explosion and Stirling Council set up a rest centre in the town.

Central Scotland Police said the majority of the Murdiston Avenue house has been destroyed by the explosion and the remaining part of the building will be made safe this afternoon.

It is expected that once this has been done, the residents who were evacuated from their houses will be allowed back into their homes later tonight, police said.

Eric Brown, proprietor of the Roman Camp Hotel, said: "I heard a loud bang at around 5.45am this morning.

"The hotel is set quite far back from the road so it wasn't particularly loud from where we are, but it was enough to wake me up."

Claire Luti, a partner in nearby Dreadnought Garage, said: "I live at the other end of town so I didn't hear the explosion, but I heard the helicopter that was sent to take them (the man) to hospital.

"They are an elderly couple in their 70s who are quite well known in the town."

Chief Inspector Russell Penman, of Central Scotland Police, earlier said the explosion is being treated as a suspected gas leak.

He said: "We received a call at 5.45am from a resident in the street who had reported an explosion at the house.

"We attended along with the fire service within five to seven minutes and the fire service extracted the two occupants of the house and then evacuated the residents in the surrounding houses.

"I believe the elderly female casualty was in the bedroom and the elderly male was on the right- hand side of the property which has been damaged. He was trapped and had to be removed by the fire service.

"We had to use the services of the helicopter to take him to the hospital at Glasgow and the woman to Forth Valley Hospital.

"We are working with Scottish Gas Network, Scottish Power, to make the scene safe, health and safety executives, Stirling Council building control, health and safety the fire service and the ambulance service."