Rosehill Street gas blast cause still unknown

Three houses had to be demolished after the explosion on 10 May

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The cause of a massive gas explosion that destroyed three homes is still unknown a year after the incident.

Betty Hodgkiss, then 81, suffered cuts and bruises in the explosion on 10 May and people in at least 10 other homes were forced to move out.

Work is about to start on rebuilding the houses that were demolished on Rosehill Street, Cheltenham.

But the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have said that they may never know the true cause of the explosion.

'Large release of gas'

Max Walker, of the HSE, said: "We picked through what we could find from the site, looked at the appliances, looked at lengths of pipe work that we took away from the site and that was all picked over by specialist scientists who were looking for marks and evidence, in quite a forensic examination.

"What we found, was actually what we didn't find. There was no real evidence of any recent work being done, no evidence of any faults on the appliances that would explain what happened.

"Our experts think it is most likely that the explosion happened because there was a large release of gas on the ground floor of number 34 Rosehill street.

"But unfortunately we are not able to say why that gas was released, certainly there is no evidence of any work being done, so no further work for the HSE."

An investigation by Wales and West Utilities found there were also no leaks in the street's gas mains.

Ms Hodgkiss' home was reduced to rubble by the explosion, while two neighbouring houses had to be demolished on safety grounds.

A number of surrounding properties were also damaged by the blast and have had repairs carried out.

Despite the extent of the destruction, no-one was injured in the incident.

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