Pensioner miraculously survives after gas explosion destroys home

The devastated home after the gas explosion
The devastated home after the gas explosion

A 76-year-old woman was saved by her washing machine in an "extraordinarily lucky" escape after a suspected gas blast destroyed her home.

The woman was found by rescue workers yesterday wedged in a void next to the machine with the weight of the roof and upper floors above her, according to firefighters.

Emergency services arrived at a scene of devastation in Penn Road, Wolverhampton, shortly after 8am to find a two-storey detached house flattened.

Fire crews and specially trained medics worked by hand for 90 minutes to free the woman.

David Baker, West Midlands Fire Service incident commander, said: "They were able to locate the elderly lady in the rear ground-floor kitchen with the remainder of the roof and first floor on top of her.

"She was wedged in a void next to the washing machine."

He added: "Due to the presence of gas - we believe the explosion was as a result of gas - there was still an explosion risk.

"We couldn't use any cutting tools, so we had to manually handle all the debris away from her."

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: "The 76-year-old woman was carried down from the wreckage and assessed by the doctor from the air ambulance in the back of an ambulance.

"She has suffered cuts and bruises and a broken ankle, but when you consider the level of damage to the property, she has been extraordinarily lucky not to have been more seriously injured."

The woman was taken to hospital and three others, including a taxi driver who was going past the house when it exploded, were treated for shock.