A 22-year-old who rescued an elderly man from a gas explosion has been hailed as a ‘real hero’ by neighbours.
A man in his seventies, Lionel Benson, is receiving specialist treatment at Pinderfields hospital for injuries sustained when the blast tore through his home.
A spokesperson from Pinderfields hospital said that Mr Benson was in a critical but stable condition.
Police, paramedics and fire crews were called to Finden Gardens in Hampsthwaite on Tuesday February 5, after the gas explosion.
Finden Gardens resident Thomas Bardon, 22, said he was getting ready for bed at around 11.30pm when he heard the loud bang. “I didn’t know what it was at first, I thought maybe there was a car crash. When I opened the door I could smell the smoke and could see fire at Mr Benson’s house. I just shoved my shoes on and jumped over the garden fences to get there.”
Mr Bardon said he could see Mr Benson was still inside the house which was filling with thick smoke. “I could see he was fumbling around in the kitchen so I went in through the blown out door. Mr Benson was confused and kept insisting that he wanted to sit down in the kitchen. I had to put my arms round him and lead him out. His face and hands looked badly burnt and his hair was all singed off.”
Mr Bardon said he led the elderly man into the street where neighbours had rushed to help.
“I didn’t realise how serious the blast was until got him out of the house and saw all the windows had been blown out.”
Neighbour Claire Worsnop then took the injured man into her home while they waited for an ambulance.
She said: “The blast was so loud, the entire house shook.
“Thomas was very brave to go into the house.”
Harrogate Fire Station manager said: “He did a very good job, he led him to safety.
“If he hadn’t got out of the house the injuries could have been more serious.”
The 22-year-old hotel worker has lived near to Mr Bensons house with his grandmother, Sandra Thackway, for 17 years. She said: “Mr Benson is very nice, he would always say hello, he’s lived there for years.
“I am just so proud of Thomas.”
Mr Bardon added:“It still doesn’t seem real, I’ve barely slept because of the adrenaline.
“This is a sleepy, quiet village where nothing happens then this, it sounded like a bomb going off.”
Gas engineers visited the property on Wednesday morning and fire service investigators have examined the property to establish the cause of the incident.