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March 23rd 2017
A building being used as a furniture warehouse and a dance studio was destroyed in the blast - and a nearby funeral parlour was also affected.
The explosion, which happened in the New Ferry area, was heard as far away as Liverpool and North Wales.
Ian Kenyon, a reporter for Wirral Radio, said: "A number of people who were eating in a nearby restaurant are reported to have been injured and have been taken to hospitals across the region.
"Thankfully this happened on a quiet shopping street late at night, but residents in the nearby village of Port Sunlight have been evacuated."
He told Sky News a "significant" cordon has been set up around the collapsed buildings, and a smell of gas was reported to the major incident unit and National Grid engineers at the scene.
"There is a certainty toxicity to the air ... floodlights are being erected as they begin the job of sifting through the rubble," Mr Kenyon said.
Merseyrail says trains have been suspended in the New Ferry area because of "potential damage" to a bridge.
The Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said eight fire engines have been sent to the "major incident" - with extensive road closures throughout the area.
Alison McGovern, the Labour MP for Wirral South, tweeted: "Am on scene in New Ferry. A very serious situation. Please stay away if you can, let police and emergency services do their job."
Emergency crews were called to the scene at 9.14pm on Saturday evening.
Wirral Council says emergency teams have set up a refuge for people who have been displaced by the explosion.
Bino Shan, who works at a local convenience store, said: "I saw one man injured, I think a few people were injured.
"The building is gone, my door is damaged and broken. It's really scary, it was a big explosion but I didn't see any fire."
There are many different sorts of gas but here we are concerned with the sort that we use as energy, to be of any use it has to be delivered under pressure and if not properly contained it will leak to the atmosphere, mixing with the oxygen in the air it will form an explosive mixture and if there is enough of it the explosions if ignited can be very large and very damaging, the illustration shows a situation where it collected in a very large sewer pipe and when it ignited hundreds of yards of the road surface was blown to pieces, houses can be reduced to piles of rubble and large fires started.
In the early days of the natural supply it was odorless and it wasn’t until they added a chemical that you could smell that you had any chance of detecting a leakage, if a house gradually fills up even the simple act of switching on a light can trigger an explosion that reduces the house to matchwood.
If you do smell evidence of a leak don’t ignore it, investigate and if you cannot find where the leakage is, find the valve that turns off the supply and make sure that you turn it off, open all the doors and windows to clear the air then go outside and call in professional help, do not be stupid enough to go looking for the gas leak with a candle, it will probably be the last thing you do.
It does not matter if you are connected to the mains supply or you use bottles both are equally as dangerous if you have a leakage, many deaths were caused in the Japanese Kobe earthquake by overturned cooking appliances that had no automatic cutoff valves and continued to burn setting fire to the wooden houses, and because the streets were so narrow fire appliances were unable to help prevent the huge fire that literally burned the town down.
When organic matter breaks down, it releases a natural gas called methane this is many times more damaging to our atmosphere than carbon dioxide, unfortunately there are massive leaks all over the world and thousands of tons of methane are escaping into our already damaged atmosphere.
Sadly, there is very little that we can do to stop these massive leaks but special cameras have been developed so these leaks can now be easily detected.
Fortunately with modern communication systems these dangerous situations can be monitored easily and warnings issued by local government, civil defense, police, local radio and television.Home Page - Prepare - Gas