Gas sniffer sparked room blast by lighting cigarette

Police investigate at the Longstone Road flat. Picture Ian Rutherford
Police investigate at the Longstone Road flat. Picture Ian Rutherford
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A MAN blew up his bedroom after sniffing cans of gas before lighting a cigarette, the Evening News can today reveal.

The bungling 25-year-old, who sources said was “as high as a kite”, was rushed to hospital with severe burns after gas built up in his bedsit due to him spraying cans of aerosols.

The man, who suffered severe burns to his face and arms, is understood to have been transferred to St John’s for surgery on his wounds.

A 60-year-old who was in the same building, at a bed and breakfast for homeless people in Longstone, was also taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The blast, which occurred just before 8pm on Tuesday, was witnessed by a number of people, including a takeaway delivery driver who said his car was “showered” with glass before a man had emerged with his “skin all falling off”.

Today, the charred remains of a bed, TV and clothing remained dumped in the front garden.

It is understood that emergency services found cans of aerosols in the bedsit. A large build-up of the gases combined with a spark is believed to have created the severe explosion.

One nearby resident, who asked not to be named, said: “The window blew right out. I thought there had been a gas explosion, but it seems he’d been sniffing something and had taken it too far.”

Another added: “I heard he was spraying the cans, sniffing them and getting high. Then one of them lit a cigarette and the place just went ‘boom’.

“It’s really irresponsible. There are a lot of properties around here and several people stay in there, as far as I know, so there could have been more casualties.”

Following the incident, one councillor called for an urgent review of the use of and 
standards in homeless bed and breakfast facilities.

Green councillor Gavin Corbett said: “Record numbers of homeless people are now stuck in temporary accommodation while they wait for permanent housing to become available.

“While they are there, they need to be sure that they are safe. That is why I support the Scottish Government adopting a standard for temporary accommodation, as is already the case in Wales.

“I am concerned that this explosion may only be the tip of the iceberg and that we are placing some very vulnerable people in accommodation where the management and physical standards leave a lot to be desired.”

A Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said firefighters were continuing their investigations.

Police also confirmed they were investigating.