'It was shocking': Community praised after Shropshire explosion which blew up house and evacuated primary school

Praise has been given to those involved in an explosion which blew up a house and evacuated a school in Shropshire.

Emergency services at the incident in Cressage
Emergency services at the incident in Cressage

The group commander of Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) said it was due to the "swift action" of the community in Cressage that the incident wasn't worse.

Meanwhile, the headteacher of a nearby primary school said staff and pupils were "outstanding" in what could have been "a potential near miss".

Emergency services at the incident in Cressage

Following the explosion, which residents felt five miles away, teachers at Christ Church Primary School quickly evacuated pupils and ensured the oil tanker on site, which happened to be refilling the school's supply at the time, was a safe distance away.

Meanwhile, health workers from Cressage Medical Practice came to the scene to treat an injured person while other residents offered support and accommodation to those affected.

Emergency services at the incident in Cressage

Tracey Cansdale, headteacher of the primary school, said the impact of the explosion was "enormous".

"We'd just been out with the children for play time," Mrs Cansdale said.

"As we were watching, it went up so quickly. There was a really big explosion – the debris and smoke was enormous.

Emergency services at the incident in Cressage

"It was shocking. The children all heard the explosion and saw all the smoke and flames. It was very visible for them all.

"But we were able to reassure them really quickly and we evacuated them to the village hall within 10 minutes and asked parents to come and pick them up."

Jon Temple, group commander of SFRS, said: "The property fire in Cressage has brought stories of brilliant community teamwork to the fore.

Emergency services at the incident in Cressage

"From the staff at Cressage Medical Practice coming out and taking care of one injured person, teachers evacuating children from nearby playing fields during the early stages of the fire with the help from Shrewsbury Town in the Community personnel, to neighbours offering accommodation for those affected by the blast.

"Our thanks go to the residents of Cressage and we can report that the fire, which ignited a nearby gas tank and oil heater, has now been extinguished."

Mrs Cansdale added: "I made the decision to evacuate the children as although the bungalows are a football pitch away, the fire was spreading and I was worried another oil tank was going to go.

Emergency services at the incident in Cressage

"We were actually having our oil tank refilled at the time. You're probably looking at about 15 minutes every three months this happens, so it could have been a potential near miss."

Mr Temple added: "Two people suffered minor injuries and two properties were affected by the incident.

"It’s largely due to the swift action of the community that this incident wasn’t worse.”

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