Mum lit oven and bang – my life flashed before before my eyes, I thought I was dead’


A family miraculously escaped after a suspected gas blast ripped through their house.

Witnesses described hearing a loud bang as large parts of the property collapsed onto the street.

Emergency services rushed to the scene on Wednesday night amid fears people were trapped inside the rubble.

Images released by the fire service showed bricks and mortar laying around the garden as the top of the house dangled perilously in the air.

But rescuers confirmed that all three people that were inside at the time made it out safely and were taken to hospital suffering only “minor injuries.”

The explosion happened around 9pm in Bude, Cornwall, with several neighbours also needing to be evacuated due to the unstable structure.

One of the trio inside the house when it exploded has described it as “like a bomb” going off and added: “I thought I was dead.”

Darren Cornish, 48, said: “The house is ready to fall to bits. It was really scary. I saw my life flash before before my eyes.

“I thought I was dead, I really thought I had died.”

The property is owned by Darren’s parents Alan Cornish, 73, and Josie Cornish, 75, who were enjoying an evening in with their son at the time.

Darren, a paramedic, has now given a dramatic account of the explosion and revealed his elderly parents had “lost everything” as the home was not insured.

He said he feared there was a gas leak so went to investigate with his mum, who instinctively turned on the cooker to try and show it was working correctly.

Darren said he tried to stop her but it was too late, and the pair were thrown against a wall and suffered burns to their face and hands – and had their hair singed.

Darren said: “I’m OK, alive.

“I was up with my mum and dad and we were sat in the lounge watching TV.

“Me and my dad kept falling asleep which I thought was odd, then I thought I could smell gas so I asked if the cooker was working.

“I went to check and my mum came with me. It was all off and mum went to show me that the oven was working OK and before I could stop her she lit the oven and bang – up it went.”

The force of the explosion knocked Darren and his mum off their feet, and in that moment he thought he had died – and said he saw his whole life flash before his eyes.

But he regained his composure when he heard his mum screaming, and rushed into action.

He added: “It was like a bomb had gone off. I could hear mum screaming.

“I grabbed her and took her outside. Dad was still in the front room sitting in his chair watching the TV – although the television had gone off by this point.

“I lifted mum over the rubble and one of my mates who lived opposite came over to help get them out.

“We had to man handle my dad out because he’s a big guy.

“There was water everywhere and gas was hissing, so then I just got myself out and waited for the fire brigade to arrive.”

Despite being in the room with the explosion, Darren said he only suffered superficial injuries including singing his hair.

His mum was taken to hospital to be checked, and his dad, who recently had a heart attack, was thoroughly examined by paramedics.

Darren continued: “Mum went to hospital, she had some burns to her face and hands. Dad was unscathed.

“It was just instinct to get out and get everyone out the house.

Alan and Josie, who have three children and six grandchildren, didn’t have any home insurance on their property and many of their possessions were destroyed.

Darren added: “We’ve been nagging them to get insurance for years but they’re old school, never had a mortgage and didn’t have insurance.

“They’ve lost everything, their house and their belongings.”