Huge gas explosion above convenience store in Cannock
A huge gas explosion above a convenience store in Cannock has forced fire crews to close off the area for several days.
Emergency services cordoned off a section of Cannock Road in Chadsmoor today after reports of a 'massive boom' above the Select & Save shop.
On arriving they also discovered a fire at the back of the property.
Fire chiefs of Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service have confirmed both the fire and explosion were caused by gas – but a full investigation is now under way.
No-one was seriously injured following the explosion, which caused a large amount of debris in the street, but one shop worker was taken to hospital as a precaution.
He was inside Select & Save when the incident happened at about 10.50am.
Russ Brown, watch manager for Green Watch Cannock at the fire service said he believed the explosion was related to gas.
He said: "We were called to reports of a large bang, and large amounts of debris on the floor.
"There was also a fire at the rear of the property. All persons were accounted for. There was one person in the shop at the time and we handed him over to paramedics. He was taken to hospital for checks.
"Our main priority now is to make the building safe for the utilities workers to go inside.
"I imagine the road will be closed for the foreseeable future – a few days."
See a video of the scene:
Richard Hall, who works at TV Taxis just over the road from the shop, said he first thought the loud bang was a car crashing into a building.
"I heard this massive boom – it was like an artillery round here," he said.
"I thought a car had gone into one of the shops. I went outside and all the roof tiles were coming down and all you could smell was gas. I rang the fire service right away, as more tiles were coming down.
"I just thought 'what the hell was that'."
Stanley Selvaraj owns the Select & Save shop, and said he has been told by firefighters he won't be able to go back inside for at least a few days.
He said: "I was not there in the morning – a colleague was there instead. He was taken to hospital for shock.
"I won't be able to open for two or three days now. We had a gas check recently and they said it was absolutely fine but obviously something was wrong after all."
The fire service sent four fire engines in total; two from Cannock, one from Rugeley and one from Penkridge.
A road closure has been put in place for the next few days and people have been warned to avoid the area if possible.
Investigations into the cause of the explosion are now taking place.