A MAN sent a text message warning neighbours to “save their kids”, minutes before an explosion ripped through his Merseyside home.
The text was received by Rachel Nolan, whose boyfriend John Robinson lives next door to the terraced house badly damaged in the blast.
But she did not read the chilling message until after the explosion had destroyed a large part of the front of the property, in Lucerne Road, Wallasey.
Police have now arrested a 37-year-old man – understood to be the householder – on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.
The text to Ms Nolan, who was at her home in Rock Ferry, said: “I’ve cut the gas pipe. Tell John to get the kids out of the house.”
Rachel said: “I didn’t read the message until afterwards. I didn’t have any credit anyway, so I couldn’t ring John when I saw it.
“If anyone else had been injured and I’d got the message, that could’ve prevented it . . . I would have felt awful.”
She explained the message said goodbye and told her to warn her boyfriend to get his kids out of the house.
She added: “He said ‘I’m going to end it all, I don’t want to kill anybody else’. If he was to see any police or anyone in the street he would blow the house up.”
Rachel said she received the message at 12.10am yesterday, but the blast took place minutes later.
A 37-year-old man was being treated for burns in hospital after he was rescued by disabled neighbour Frank Applin.
Mr Applin, 49, who suffers from a muscle weakening disease, said: “We heard the explosion, and I’m not very able but I walked into the house and he was on the floor. He was just lying there. I hadn’t got the strength to pick him up so I screamed at him to get up.
“It wasn’t heroic. He was a human being. I was in the Foreign Legion in the 80s so I’m used to foreign explosions. I guess it was instinct, I didn’t know what had happened to him.”