Fire crews save cottages from gas explosion

Fitre at Kirton Holme.
Fitre at Kirton Holme.

A gas explosion disaster was narrowly avoided at a blaze which swept across four homes – thanks to the quick actions of fire crews.

The blaze started in a shed at the rear of a cottage in Kirton Holme on Tuesday, spreading to the property – and to eight gas cylinders propped against a neighbouring home.

Six crews from the area spent five hours on the scene tackling the fire which spread to adjoining houses in Holme Road.

“The quick action of the Boston crew first on scene helped to prevent a serious escalation of the incident by dealing with the immediate hazard of the gas cylinders,” said fire officer in charge, Keiron Davey.

“The team managed to get a hose reel on the cylinders to cool them down in the early stages. This helped to avoid what we call a BLEVE – which is a boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion.”

Two cottages sustained extensive damage, with the fire spreading to the roof spaces, leaving them uninhabitable.

All occupants of the homes were safely evacuated.

Crews also successfully rescued pets from the homes.

The owner of one of the gutted cottages, Graham Armer, chairman of Blackfriars Theatre, lost paperwork and books he had written in the blaze. His partner Abby Johnson lost artwork and clothing.

“Accidents happen,” he said. “It’s not as if I’ve been told I have terminal cancer.”

He added that he was ‘so impressed’ with how fire crews handled the situation and got everyone to safety.

A small explosion, believed to have been set off by containers in the shed, took cladding off the side of Mr Armer’s house and sent the fire spreading to the roof spaces.

It also rocked the home of one of his neighbours, who reportedly ‘nearly fell off the toilet’ when she heard it.

The Red Cross were on the scene to support the occupants of the affected homes and help them to find alternative accommodation.

Praising their efforts, Abby Johnson said: “They were a huge support and even helped sort eveything out with the insurance company.”

The fire service said the cause of the fire was the disposal of hot ashes behind the shed.