The body of a man was recovered at the site of a suspected gas explosion that ripped through a terraced street in a suburb of Swansea on Monday morning.
Three people were hospitalized after the incident, which reduced two houses on Clydach Road in Morriston to rubble and forced the evacuation of up to 120 residents from 30 properties.
The massive blast shattered windows and removed tiles from the roofs of neighboring houses, while people reported feeling shock waves from eight miles away.
South Wales Police said Monday night a search on the Clydach Road had discovered a previously missing man and his family informed.
Rescue workers were on site into the late hours, having been called at 11.20am while local authorities set up a recovery center at Morriston Memorial Hall for affected residents.
Councilwoman Ceri Evans said residents were “shocked” and felt “in limbo” as they waited to return to their homes, some of which were damaged by the blast.
Wales & West Utilities, which runs the gas network across Wales and parts of south-west England, said it had sent engineers to Morriston to investigate and noted the cause of the blast was not yet known. The local gas supply is not affected, the operator said.
Police launched their own inquiries into the causes of the incident and said the Health Safety Executive had been briefed.
“An interagency command center is coordinating emergency response to the incident at Swansea Central Police Station,” the statement added.
Throughout the day, neighbors shared their fears for those who lived in the houses destroyed in the blast. Naming Brian Davies as one of the affected residents, Andy Williams, who has lived on the street for 25 years, became emotional.
He said: “He’s only been here a few years but I knew him well.
“He’s just a nice guy, a lovely guy, he’s always out and chatting. He’s an angel and I just hope he’s ok.”
The blast reverberated deep into the Swansea Valley. Ioan Humphreys lives eight miles away in Rhos, Pontardaw and had just started a Microsoft Teams meeting when he heard the bang.
“There’s a lot of construction going on on the house next to me, so at first I thought it was a giant container being delivered and brought onto their driveway – it felt so close,” said the 48-year-old Swansea University research officer.
Abbie, a 26-year-old who lives half a mile from the scene, said the explosion sounded like a car had driven into her home.
“I was working when we heard a huge bang, it sounded like a car had crashed into our garage and the impact shook the house,” she told PA.
Police have urged the public to avoid the area while they work on the incident. A spokesman said: “Clydach Road will remain closed and traffic will be diverted.
“Some homes in the Cwm Arian area are currently only accessible via pedestrian walkways near the Lidl supermarket and DFS store due to blocked vehicle access from Clydach Road and gas line concerns, which are currently being damaged by gunmen secured on site.
“Once this work is complete, controlled vehicle access can be restored.”