An explosion that shook the ground destroyed the front of a house and killed a family’s pet dog.
Windows and bricks were blown out at the home in Stafford as it went up in flames.
A father and son were in the house in Marston Road when the fire initially took hold but managed to flee after they were alerted by smoke alarms.
Firefighters turned up to deal with the fire and some were inside the mid-terraced house when a large explosion sent bricks and glass flying onto the road.
No-one was hurt in the blast, which happened at around midday yesterday.
Shocked neighbours described how they heard ‘a big bang’ and some had to be evacuated for the night.
Tony Gray, aged 56, who lives in nearby Co-operative Street, said: “We just heard the explosion, a big explosion.
“We thought it was a bomb going off, everything was shaking.”
Another resident, 37-year-old Steve Norman who also lives in Co-operative Street, added: “It was an explosion that shook the ground. We think it was something in the basement.”
Both saw a dog being brought out of the house but it had died at the scene.
Thirty five firefighters tackled the blaze at its height and those living in the adjacent houses were evacuated as a precaution.
Some families had to be put up in temporary accommodation last night due to smoke and water damage to their homes.
The power also had to be cut to the street for around two to three hours to allow the firefighters, electricity and gas companies to carry out repairs and investigations.
The road was closed at Albert Terrace with police called to the scene to help direct traffic.
Incident commander Rob Barber, group manager from Staffordshire Fire Service’s Pirehill headquarters, said: “We don’t know the cause at the moment, it is now under investigation.
“We were called at about midday and on arrival there was smoke issuing from the house. We made an entry to the premises to search for and extinguish the fire. While the firefighters were in there, there was a fire gas explosion that blew the front windows out and the skin of the brickwork off.
“Unfortunately the firefighters found a dog but it was deceased before we arrived. Smoke detectors have saved the family here.”
The cause of the fire is being investigated but it is believed to have started in the basement.
Fire crews from Stafford, Rising Brook, Penkridge, Longton, Stone and Cannock all attended, along with Staffordshire Police officers.
Sarah Davison, spokeswoman for Staffordshire Police, said: “We we called by colleagues from the fire service, who were dealing with a house fire in Marston Road, Stafford. Officers attended and assisted with initial road closures in the area until highways took over.”
Stafford Borough Council leader Mike Heenan said: “I am shocked to hear about it, I am pleased there was no human casualties but obviously it is sad to hear a dog was lost.”