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Family of four in serious condition after Ayr house blast

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A family of four are in a serious condition after an explosion ripped through a terrace house on a South Ayrshire council estate, destroying their home and severely damaging others.

Police Scotland, at a lunchtime briefing on Tuesday, confirmed that two boys, aged 16 and 11, had been transferred to hospitals in Glasgow along with a 43-year-old woman and a 47-year-old man, adding it was too early to say if the incident was the result of a gas leak.

Ch Insp Derrick Johnston, the area commander for South Ayrshire, told reporters that a joint investigation with the Scottish fire and rescue service was being carried out to determine the cause of the explosion, and that gas was “a line of inquiry that we are looking at”.

Earlier, a local councillor suggested that gas caused the blast in the Kincaidston area shortly after 7pm on Monday evening. The explosion was heard for miles around. Chris Cullen, a South Ayrshire councillor, said that if gas from the affected properties could not be capped, residents may not be able to return to their homes for up to 10 days.

The gas distribution company SGN said it was “assisting the emergency services to ensure the immediate vicinity is made safe”.

Locator

The injured residents were taken to Crosshouse hospital in Kilmarnock and remained there on Tuesday morning.

Cullen told BBC Good Morning Scotland that the scene was “harrowing”. He said: “Early yesterday evening there was a row of houses and now there is a hole. Two-and-a-half houses are missing. It is quite shocking how far the debris has fallen and the damage it has caused.” He added: “It has been a gas explosion, the exact details of how that happened aren’t released yet.”

Nine fire engines, six ambulances and an air ambulance attended the scene.

South Ayrshire council reported being flooded with donations of overnight essentials and hot food and drinks after setting up rest centres at Queen Margaret Academy, the local secondary school, and a nearby community centre. The evacuated residents went to stay with family and friends or were placed in hotels.

By Tuesday morning, the council had set up a dedicated phone line for those who needed support. Cullen said: “The council are now working to make sure people are homed and sorted out with everything they need for the next few days.”

Residents living near the estate described seeing smoke billowing from the site and finding broken roof tiles strewn across the street.

Police Scotland said road closures were in place and the public were advised to avoid the area.

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