Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Woman, 80, Is Trapped in Blast

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Woman, 80, Is Trapped in Blast

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sarah Knapton

Fire crews battle to rescue pensioner caught under rubble as explosion rips through terraced home

A pensioner was trapped under a pile of rubble after a massive gas explosion ripped through her home today.

Family waited anxiously to find out if Moira Dickson, 80, survived the huge blast which destroyed her terraced house in Grey Street, North Shields, at 7.30am.

The explosion is believed to have happened when husband Joe Cairns ( in his 60s ( put a kettle on the stove to make a cup of tea.

He was taken to hospital where he was being treated for burns.

Around half a dozen other people were helped by paramedics at the scene or taken away by ambulance.

Scores of residents were evacuated as Grey Street and surrounding roads were cordoned off while emergency crews dealt with the aftermath of the blast.

A huge pile of masonry was strewn across the road and Mrs Dickson's home had been reduced to a shell.

Neighbours reported hearing a huge explosion like a bomb or a plane crash which shook homes more than half a mile away.

Mrs Dickson's daughter, Debra Marouli, 40, of Monkseaton, was waiting anxiously to find out if her mother had survived the blast.

She said: "We have no idea if my mum is dead or alive. Apparently Joe went to put on the kettle and the whole house just blew up.

"My mother's still inside. I just don't know what's going on. She was in bed at the time. But the whole house had just been reduced to rubble.

"Joe has been taken to hospital with cuts and bruises."

Gas officials were on the scene to try and locate the source of the blast, while fire crews struggled to make the property safe and help trapped victims to safety.

Police say a handful of people were injured in the explosion, including 70-year-old Suzie Dixon.

Family friend Angela Lucas, 44, who lives along Grey Street, said: "I heard a massive bang ( like a bomb.

"I just ran outside and just looked up the street and I knew it was an explosion of some type. …

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