Clean up continues after Barnstaple explosion

Joseph Bulmer

Investigations continue as authorities bring Barnstaple street back to normal after devastating blast

INVESTIGATIONS are continuing into a massive explosion which destroyed a Barnstaple house injuring two men.

Police Inspector Toby Davies said officers were working with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue investigators to establish the cause of Monday’s blast in Trinity Street, which has left one man in a critical condition and the other described as stable.

But he said they believe it was linked to the gas canisters found at the property and said there were “no suspects outstanding.”

The building, a converted coach house, was in the back garden of Cherry Trees, a house owned by Guinness Care and Support.

The organisation houses people with mental health support needs.

Insp Davies added: “The focus of the work now is very much on trying to return the street to a sense of normality and North Devon council has taken over the clear up effort.”

The council’s emergency planning officer Paul Bourton said six people from two properties had been moved into temporary accommodation because their own homes were not suitable to be lived in at present.

“Over the last couple of days we’ve been working alongside our police and fire colleagues and contractors to get the scene back to normal,” he said.

“Our Building Control team has assessed the area for dangerous structures and Housing Options has made arrangements for people who need temporary accommodation.

“Contractors appointed by insurance companies from each household are carrying out the cleanup operation.

“The council is overseeing work to get the area back to normal and making sure those affected receive the level of support they need.

“Our thoughts continue to remain with the victims of the explosion and their friends and family.”

Mr Bourton said anyone affected by the situation who needed help and advice about temporary accommodation was urged to contact the council on (01271) 388870.

The two injured men were airlifted to a specialist burns and plastic surgery unit at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, where it is understood they underwent surgery.