Two seriously injured after explosion at house in Kent

Two people have been seriously injured after an explosion caused a fire at a house in Kent.

A spokesperson for South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) said the two casualties had been taken to hospital in London and a Hazardous Area Response Team was at the site of the blast in Willesborough, Ashford.

Another five people have been taken to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford with injuries "thought to be less serious", the service said.

Firefighters had been tackling a blaze at the house and several people thought to have been trapped in the house were freed.

All residents have been accounted for, a police spokesman said, and the incident is not thought to be suspicious.

The flames were largely extinguished, but a large amount of damage was done to at least one house and paramedics were seen treating people outside the ruins of the building.

Members of the public have been urged to avoid the area and residents have been told to keep their windows closed.

Seven fire engines and a height vehicle were at the scene – alongside police and road vehicles from the air ambulance.

A SECAmb spokesperson said: "Ambulance crews including our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) have attended the scene along with police and fire colleagues. The air ambulance service also joined us at the scene.

"Two patients have been taken to hospital in London with serious injuries. A further five patients have been taken to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford with injuries thought to be less serious.

"We remain at the scene in support of our emergency service colleagues."

The emergency services were first called to the scene at 7.57am.

A spokesman for Kent Police said: "The cause is yet to be established but at this stage the incident is not being treated as suspicious.

"A number of people were reported to have been trapped in the rubble and were rescued."

The spokesman added: "All residents are now accounted for.

"The Salvation Army have set up a centre at a local village hall to provide support to those who have been evacuated."

A spokesman for Kent Police said: "A number of people were reported to have been trapped and they were freed by emergency services.

"Officers are working to establish if anyone else is unaccounted for."

Chantal Weller, who lives on the road adjacent to the explosion, said it "felt like something had literally flown into the side" of her house.

The 20-year-old journalism student said: "It didn’t make a lot of noise, but there was a big shudder.

"I looked out the window and saw a lot of people looking down the road and looking worried.

"I walked out onto the street and could see lots of police cars whizzing past down Osborne Road to get to the house. There were people everywhere because of the school run."

An evacuation zone of around 200m has been set up in each direction, she added.

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