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Pensioner hospitalised as mystery blast blows house roof off

The bungalow's roof teeters on the brink of collapse

The bungalow's roof teeters on the brink of collapse

  • by ALAN MCEWEN
 

INQUIRIES are continuing to establish the cause of an explosion which resulted in an elderly woman being rushed to hospital with burns – and a bungalow roof teetering on the verge of collapse.

The victim, named locally as Juanita Tuckey, 82, suffered burns to her hands and lower arms as a result of the blast, which happened just before 1pm yesterday.

The pensioner, whom locals said was originally from Spain, was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after neighbours sounded the alarm.

The perilous state of the roof prompted worried fire bosses to evacuate neighbours amid fears it could topple to the ground.

A fire source said: “The roof has been left in a very precarious position by the blast. It’s extremely unsafe.”

Firefighters who arrived at the scene of devastation in Carberry Court, Whitecraig, East Lothian, immediately cut the electricity and gas supply to stem any further problems.

Demolition experts were also drafted in to secure the roof of the home.

One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said the blast sounded like something falling off a truck.

She said: “It was a very loud but strange noise. It was as if something fell off the back of a lorry.

“We stay a few doors away and we were evacuated as a precaution. Ms Tuckey lives on her own so I hope she’s 
OK.”

The bungalow is semi-detached and the roof is now bowed in the middle, with many tiles missing or fallen to the ground.

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire Service confirmed a probe is under way.

She said: “We were called to an incident at Carberry Court at 12.55pm. A neighbour reported an explosion.

“On arrival, an 82-year-old woman was taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with burns to her hands and lower arms.

“Gas and electricity were also isolated as a precaution. We have now handed things over to East Lothian Council.”

Crews worked to secure the council property so an investigation into the cause of the blast can take place.

Frank Fairgrieve, principal surveyor at East Lothian Council’s building standards department, said: “We don’t know how long it will be until we can determine what happened.

“Safety is paramount and the roof is in such a way that it would be dangerous to enter in case it collapses.

“We need to secure a perimeter then let the demolition workers enter to secure the roof.

“At that point entry will then be granted to investigators to determine the cause of the explosion.

“The gas supplies have also been isolated and, as it is a semi-detached building, the next-door neighbours have been temporarily relocated.”

amcewen@edinburghnews.com

 

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