Investigation is focusing on gas leak as probable cause of devastating blast

Investigations are under way after a suspected gas explosion demolished a block of flats in Shrewsbury, Shropshire on Sunday, injuring 12 people.

The force of the explosion blasted part of the building away and rubble was thrown out into the road.

A woman in her early 20s was seriously injured and sustained severe burns to her head, neck and chest when she was blown out of the building from the first floor. She was airlifted to Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham.

A man understood to have become trapped by rubble on the ground floor was taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital with suspected spinal injuries.

Several people were taken to hospital after the blast, at least two with serious injuries

Five other people were injured as rubble fell on the car in which they were sitting on the street outside the building and were taken to Royal Shrewsbury hospital.

The incident, which occurred on Sunday morning on the corner of Bridge Street and Smithfield Road, is said to have completely flattened the building.

A fire service spokesman confirmed to the press that there had been “quite a significant gas leak” and added: “Luckily, I would say, it has been a very quiet period. If this had been prior to Christmas, when the shops and the streets and the pubs were a lot busier, then it could have been a significantly worse incident.”

The fire and rescue service continues to investigate what caused the explosion.