Neighbours describe gas blast scene

Andover Advertiser: The scene following an explosion on Murdiston Avenue in Callander, near Stirling The scene following an explosion on Murdiston Avenue in Callander, near Stirling

Neighbours have described the scene of devastation caused by a suspected gas explosion which put an elderly couple in hospital and destroyed most of their house.

Residents said they were woken by a "loud bang" early on Thursday morning following the incident in Murdiston Avenue in Callander, near Stirling.

Robin Cunningham, 77, was airlifted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary after being rescued from the blast site. He is said to be in a stable condition.

Marianne Cunningham, 74, was taken to Forth Valley Royal Infirmary and has now been released.

Alastair Allan, 47, who lives across the road from the house, said his 16-year-old daughter Nicola alerted him to the explosion.

He was then one of the first people on the scene, answering calls for help from inside the collapsed house.

"We were in bed at 5.30am this morning and were woken with this horrendous bang," he said. "My daughter shouted across to me that the house across the road had been demolished and was on fire. I called the emergency services and went across to see if they were OK and thankfully they are alive but I don't know the condition of them."

Describing the scene, he said: "I totally couldn't believe it, to be honest. It's a gas explosion, I take it, so there is no wonder there is the devastation that there is here. The two occupants were shouting for help - 'Get me out' and 'I can't take this any longer, get me out, get me out' - but there was no doubt we had to leave it to the fire service to get them out."

Mr Allan's house was cordoned off and he was told he could not get back inside until safety checks have been carried out. Nine houses in the avenue and nearby Aveland Road were evacuated following the explosion and Stirling Council set up a rest centre in the town.

Central Scotland Police said the majority of the Murdiston Avenue house has been destroyed by the explosion and the remaining part of the building will be made safe later on Thursday.

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