Man burned after boiler explosion

A man suffered burns after a back boiler exploded in an Emneth bungalow yesterday afternoon (Wednesday).

The man, believed to be in his 40s and named locally as Gary Overland, apparently lit a coal fire in his property which is understood to have caused the disused boiler behind to blow up.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said Mr Overland had only been in the Freebridge Housing Association property in The Wroe a couple of weeks.

He said: “We heard a bang but just thought he was doing something in the house. Then he knocked on our door. He was just black all over.”

Mr Overland called the emergency services himself, despite his injuries. The explosion is believed to have knocked out a section of internal walling as well as damaging the chimney breast.

A fire service spokesperson said investigations were still ongoing but the cause at this stage is believed to a decommissioned back boiler.

Colin Davison, director of property for Freebridge, said: “The back boiler at the property had been properly disconnected and the fireplace sealed and chimney capped.

“The tenant contacted us recently with regard to opening up the fireplace and as such was visited by a surveyor from Freebridge. The tenant was advised that further checks would be required before it could be used and that we would write to him formally with the details on how to proceed.

“It is our intention that when the tenant is ready to do so we’ll work with him to help him return to the property as no structural damage to the building was suffered.”

Two fire appliances from Wisbech and Outwell attended following the incident, which happened at around 3pm. The air ambulance was also called.

Mr Overland suffered burns to his stomach, arms and legs. The Magpas Helimedix administered strong pain killers and applied dressings to his burns. He was then taken to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn, in a land ambulance. He is expected to be released from hospital today or tomorrow.