Man taken to hospital after ‘huge van explosion’

Picture of the scene: photo copyright Steve Midgley
Picture of the scene: photo copyright Steve Midgley

A man in his 50’s has been taken to Leeds General Infirmary with facial and head burns after a ‘huge van explosion’ this lunchtime.

The incident happened around 12.10pm on Southowram Bank as fire crews from Halifax and Rastrick were called to the scene.

Alistair Reeves saw the whole explosion unfold before his eyes.

“He pulled up to the junction at the top of Southowram Bank to give way to traffic and the car exploded in to pieces.

“The roof blew off and glass shattered everywhere. We were just parked up 15ft away from the explosion.

“We got him out and sat him in my car until the emergency services arrived.

“The man was in total shock, How he survived was a miracle.”

Another witness who lives nearby to where the incident happened said the roof was blown completely off and the windscreen had landed near to her garden.

“There was a massive explosion. It was like something had hit the house.

“We ran down and saw the driver sitting in the car. He was in total shock.

“We thought it was a car bomb it was that bad. It was awful.”

An investigation into the cause of the explosion will be carried but it is believed there was a gas leak in the van and it was ignited by the driver lighting a cigarette.

The blaze caused police to close Southowram Bank, Blaithroyd Lane and Godley Branch Road as the vehicle was recovered.

Officers reopened the road shortly before 3pm.