Gas likely caused fatal house explosion as investigators focus on internal installations

UK

Gas is believed to have caused an explosion at a house in Edinburgh that killed a pensioner and injured two other people, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

The HSE said the focus of its investigation relates to the internal gas installations at the property and not the network that supplies the area.

An 84-year-old man, named locally as James Smith, died in the blast. It is understood he lived next door to the house that was reduced to rubble.

A 43-year-old woman and a 54-year-old man were taken to hospital for treatment following the explosion in Baberton Mains Avenue at around 10.25pm on Friday.

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Several properties were evacuated as emergency services responded to the incident

They were rescued by neighbours including Steven MacLennan, who rushed to help after hearing a “loud bang” which he initially believed was a car crash.

Police Scotland said “enquiries are continuing” into the incident but there are “no suspicious circumstances”.

A HSE spokesperson said: “The focus of our investigation relates to the internal gas installations at the property and not the network.

More on Edinburgh

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the man who sadly lost his life.”

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‘I had to get her out’: Man on Edinburgh blast

The house was destroyed as people reported hearing the blast from miles away.

Several properties were evacuated as emergency services responded to the incident.

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The house was reduced to rubble

SGN Networks, which manages gas distribution networks in Scotland and in the south of England, expressed its “deepest sympathies” to Mr Smith’s family and said its “thoughts also remain” with the couple injured in the blast.

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Gas engineers and police officers at the scene

In a statement on Sunday, the firm said: “After a thorough investigation, the Health and Safety Executive have confirmed the incident in Baberton on Friday night was not related to SGN’s network.

“We initially worked with the emergency services to ensure the immediate vicinity was made safe in our role as the gas emergency service.

“We’re working with Edinburgh Council to offer support to residents evacuated following the explosion.

“We’d like to reassure the local community that their gas supply is safe to use.”

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