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Man rescued from South Bank house after gas leak ignites
A MAN was rescued from the window of a house after a gas leak caught fire in his home.
The householder, a man in his 60s, clambered on to the top of an upstairs bay window as smoke billowed from behind him, before being rescued by emergency services.
The fire started under the stairs of his mid-terrace house in Philadelphia Terrace in South Bank, when a gas leak was ignited by an electric switch.
The man was taken to hospital by ambulance with smoke inhalation and minor burns.
Firefighters extinguished the flames but when two firefighters went in to the house they realised there was an uncontrolled gas leak and the street had to be evacuated, remaining closed until the afternoon.
Builder Joe Reynolds, 29, was driving past the scene with workmate Lewis Haskins when he saw the man leaning from the window with smoke billowing from the building.
Mr Reynolds said: “We were driving down the road when we saw smoke pouring out of the upstairs window.
“The gentleman was hanging his head out looking bewildered.
“We pulled over and ran to him, Lewis ran for a ladder while I stayed with the man and kept him calm and told him he needed to get out on to the ledge to avoid further smoke.
“When Lewis arrived with the ladder from a few streets away, the police and rescue services arrived and took over.”
When the gas leak was discovered, residents were evacuated from the south side of the street and those on the north side were told to move to the back of their homes, in case of an explosion.
The street was cordoned off at both ends while gas engineers dug up the street to cut off the flow of gas to the property.
Carol Winspear, who lives in the house next door to where the fire occurred, said a couple had recently moved in and had been doing a lot of work on the house.
She said she was allowed to return to her home at 2.30pm. Police were alerted to the fire by the fire brigade at about 10.45am.
Three fire engines and 15 firefighters were sent to the incident, as well as North Yorkshire Police officers.
Speaking at the scene, station manager Dave Watson described the incident as an “uncontrolled gas leak”.
There was fire, heat and smoke damage to the ground floor of the property and smoke damage to the first floor.