Man, 62, burnt as gas bottle explodes

Preparations for a Christmas lunch turned to tragedy for a Shell Cove family when a gas bottle exploded, leaving a 62-year-old man with burns to 30 per cent of his body.

Residents of Solo Crescent were shocked as their  street filled with fire trucks, ambulances and police cars about 9.30 on Wednesday morning.

When emergency crews arrived on the scene they discovered the man with burns to his face, arms and legs.

One neighbour, who did not want to be identified, said the man’s daughter ran outside ‘‘in hysterics’’ as soon as police arrived.

‘‘She said a gas bottle’s blown up, my dad’s been burnt,’’ he said.

It is understood family members rushed the man to the shower immediately after the explosion.

The neighbour said he watched as the man, wrapped in a blanket, walked down the front stairs of the house to a waiting stretcher.

‘‘They put him straight on the stretcher and wheeled him into the back of an ambulance,’’ he said.

Police were told the man had been making preparations for his family’s Christmas lunch when the explosion occurred.

Police are investigating reports the gas bottle may have been incorrectly connected.

Although he was outside at the time, the neighbour said he didn’t hear any explosions.

‘‘It was a bit of a shock,’’ he said. ‘‘It was just a crazy morning.’’

A second neighbour, who also did not want to be identified, said police seemed ‘‘frantic’’ when they arrived at the scene. 

‘‘There were just so many emergency services,’’ she said.

The injured man was airlifted by helicopter to Concord Hospital for treatment at the specialist burns unit.

Police are hoping to speak to the man when his condition improves to get a clearer idea of how the explosion occurred.

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