Shock in Bond Street - injured resident ran into street “in flames”

Neighbours looked on in horror as a man was engulfed in flames in a suspected gas explosion at a house in the city’s Waterside.

It’s understood the explosion took place in a house on Bond Street around 10.35pm last night, and neighbours today confirmed that the occupant of the house ran into the street “in flames”.

GAS EXPLOSION. . . .A police officer surveys the damage to a house at Bonds Street after an suspected overnight gas explosion. DER4213JM024

GAS EXPLOSION. . . .A police officer surveys the damage to a house at Bonds Street after an suspected overnight gas explosion. DER4213JM024

The man, believed to be in his mid thirties, named locally as Trevor McNeil, was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Neighbours described how they looked on this morning as police and emergency crews patrolled the area from behind a strict cordon.

Pensioner William Allen, who lives nearby, said: “We just heard it was a gas explosion and a chap was injured. He’s stable as far as I know, and I hear the house has some structural damage to it.”

“There’s a bit of inconvenience here with neighbours getting in and out now, but as long as the man is okay that’s all that matters really,” he added.

The scene at Bonds Street after suspected gas explosion

The scene at Bonds Street after suspected gas explosion

“I only found out about it this morning, I know the man to see, it’s terrible,” said one female neighbour who didn’t wish to be named.

A shopkeeper nearby said: “It’s just shocking, he was a very nice fellow. I don’t know any more details, it’s just been a bit of a shock to everyone.”

A young woman, Erin Swarby, was just arriving for work at a nearby bakery at 4am and saw the commotion.

“Everything was cordoned off when I got here and there was police everywhere. It was pretty shocking actually,” she said.

A Waterside mother spoke on behalf of her son, who was badly shaken after witnessing the incident.

“My son heard the big bang and came running down and that’s when he saw the man coming running out in flames. Someone told him to hit the deck and they tried to put him out. It’s awful.”

The eyewitness himself then appeared, and added: “His skin was all peeling off, but the ambulance was here almost straight away, within a few minutes.”

A police spokesman said the PSNI and the fire service were working to ensure the surrounding area was safe.