A body of a man has been recovered from the scene of an explosion in Swansea, South Wales Police has said.
At least 20 homes are believed to have suffered damage following a suspected gas blast at a property in Morriston shortly after 11.20am earlier today.
Officers searching for a man previously unaccounted for have now confirmed they have found a body. His family have been informed.
Three other people were taken to hospital after the blast, with images from the scene showing one house collapsed and another badly damaged.
Police say other neighbouring properties were also damaged by the explosion, which shook houses miles from the scene and left debris strewn across the surrounding area.
Emergency personnel at the scene after reports of a suspected gas explosion at a property on the junction of Clydach Road and Field Close in Morriston, Swansea
A house was destroyed in a huge explosion that was heard more than five miles away earlier today
Three people have also been taken to hospital following the suspected gas explosion in a terraced street
Superintendent Steve Jones said: ‘Our thoughts are with the family of the man who has lost his life and those affected by this tragic incident.
‘We are doing everything possible to reduce the impact on the wider community and allow access to homes as quickly as possible where it is safe to do so.
‘I would like to thank the community for the patience and support during what is a challenging incident.’
Police have asked the public to avoid the area while they deal with the incident.
An investigation will now get under way to establish the cause of the incident and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed, the force said.
A spokesperson said: ‘A cordon remains in place and people are asked to avoid the area. It is necessary to keep the cordon in place due to the ongoing risk to the public and the amount of debris which is blocking access roads.
‘Clydach Road remains closed and traffic is being diverted. A number of homes in the Cwm Arian area are currently only accessible via pedestrian routes near the Lidl supermarket and DFS store due to vehicle access off Clydach Road being blocked and concerns over the gas main which is currently being made safe by contactors on site.
‘Once this work is complete, it will be possible to restore controlled vehicle access.’
The explosion at an address on the junction of Clydach Road and Field Close left the terraced street looking like ‘a warzone’ with debris strewn across the road.
Earlier, a heroic witness revealed how they helped rescue a teenage boy and his mother from the rubble.
Christopher Yeoman, 55, who said he lives three doors down from the blast, said: ‘I saw the debris explode outward into the street even before I heard it, then I heard this massive bang.
‘The house exploded and everything flew out into the road hitting the postman who was driving by and the flats opposite.
People living nearby reported windows shaking when the explosion rocked the street earlier today
Fire crews, ambulances and police were called to tackle the blast which wrecked the end of terrace house in Morriston, Swansea
‘Everything shook and all my pictures fell off the wall, and I was first most worried about my 95-year-old mother who was downstairs.
‘I ran into the street and we got a teenage boy who was in the debris out, and me and another neighbour ran in because we could hear a woman shouting from inside.
‘When we got to her, she was hysterical and worried about her cat and dog but we managed to find the puppy in the crate and get it out as well.
‘We got them both to a bus that had stopped to help, because this was before the ambulance and police had turned up.
‘They were both hysterical but seemed to calm down once they were together. My head is still totally mashed.’
Donn and Donna Fernandez who live next door to the explosion told how they and other neighbours rescued a teenage occupant of the house who was taken to hospital.
Mr Fernandez said: ‘I came out of my house and saw the young teenager who lives next door in the wreckage of the house near the roof.
An investigation will now get under way to establish the cause of the incident and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed
One house was completely destroyed as a result of the blast while the neighbouring property was also partially wrecked
‘Me and our neighbours got him out, he’s only about 13. They’re a lovely family, a family of three. We just can’t believe this has happened.’
Mrs Fernandez, an NHS worker, said: ‘We’re just still in shock.’
Jason Maynard, 43, from Morriston, said he was having breakfast with his partner in the nearby Red Lion pub when the explosion happened.
‘Everything shook, my breakfast nearly went everywhere,’ he said.
‘We came out and we were all confused but then we saw it, there was loads of debris and dust high into the sky, and tiles everywhere.
‘You could tell it was really bad.’
A police officer at the scene would not permit residents to go past the cordon, saying: ‘We’re still not out of the woods with the gas. We’re not safe from another explosion.’