A FAMILY have been ‘wrenched’ from their home and are living in hotel rooms after a gas explosion caused major damage to their home.

The Cooper family were awoken in the early hours on December 27 last year to hear brickwork collapsing outside their Launcelot Close house.

What they were experiencing were the effects of a gas explosion in a neighbouring property, which killed 48-year-old James Kirby.

Peter Cooper said: “I didn’t hear the loud bang that a lot of people heard, I heard the sound of brickwork collapsing outside.

“I ran into Miriam’s room [Peter’s daughter] to see if she was awake, I shouted downstairs and my son was shook up.”

The family then heard knocking at the front door and were told to get out of their home.

Peter’s wife Amanda said: “We didn’t know if there was a fight going on outside. I’ve got four children to protect and there were people knocking on the door telling us to get out.”

The couple and daughters Miriam, 10, Martha, 14, along with sons Matthew, 17, and William, 19, all had to leave the property and headed to King Arthurs Way Hall which had opened its doors to give them a place to go.

That night the whole family were told to stay at a Travelodge hotel, where they have been every night since.

The boys have been sleeping on fold-out beds in a room with their parents.

Amanda said: “Our possessions are still in the house and some bits are at our friends and family’s homes — they are feeling the strain as well.

“It has been a real time of anxiety, I have not been sleeping and I’ve had to go to the doctors to get sleeping tablets — it is such a worrying time.

“We just want to be back together as a family. We have been ripped from our home.”

The family-of-six are unsure when they will be able to return to their home of eight-and-half years, but they have been told that it could be as long as a year.

With cracks running from the top to the bottom of their house, it is now understood to be unsafe to live in, however Peter has been able to go back a couple of times to collect essentials, but the family are relying on support from those around them.

“It is frustrating, we have been wrenched from our home and told we can’t go back,” Peter said.

The family are now awaiting to hear from their insurance provider about a house to move into while theirs is undergoing work.

“We just want somewhere we can call home for a while. It is the little things you miss,” Amanda added.

The Cooper family also wished to offer their condolences to Mr Kirkby’s family and friends following his death.