EXPLOSION UPDATE: firefighters saved ten residents living in flats about a shop in Freemantle Road, Bilton after an explosion set the building on fire

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TEN people were rescued from their homes in Bilton yesterday morning (Thursday).

Warwickshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service were called to the incident on Freemantle Road, Bilton at around 12.46am yesterday morning. Appliances from Rugby, Lutterworth and Southam were quickly on the scene and helped trapped residents escape the fire beneath them, using ladders and ropes.

The fire was quickly extinguished using hose reels and jets. The shop itself was severely fire damaged and two of the walls had been blown out by the explosion. The building was deemed to be structurally unsafe so crews remained on-site until the area could be made safe.

No-one was injured during the incident.

Fire Investigation Officer for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, Jon Dixon said: “We were called to a fire in a shop following an explosion on Freemantle Road, Rugby in the early hours of yesterday morning. On arrival we could see a number of residents trapped above the shop after the main fire exit had been damaged by the explosion. Ladders and lines were used to help the residents climb down through the rubble.

“It is a miracle really, that no-one was injured in the blast. A full investigation into the cause of the explosion is now being carried out by our fire investigation team in partnership with the county surveyors and police scenes of crime officers. “

Whilst crews managed the incident, residents were looked after by volunteers from the British Red Cross, Fire and Emergency Support Service.