Man sends text warning neighbours ‘I’ve cut the gas pipes’ before his house blew up
A MAN sent a text message warning neighbours to “save their kids”, minutes before an explosion ripped through his Wallasey 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.
Police are continuing to hold 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 explosions. I guess it was instinct.”
While Mr Applin helped save the man’s life, other neighbours on the street rushed to get their children out of their houses.
Mr Robinson, 38, who lives next door, got his sons Jay Jay, two, and Connor, six, out of the house in minutes.
He said: “There was a massive flash and a bang and the whole place shook. I went to my front door and saw the front of next door was blown off and there was rubble and glass over the street.
“I ran up to my kids, woke them up and took them out through the back garden. Luckily they were OK. There are cracks all over my whole house, and it’s structurally damaged.”
Ian Jones, 43, who lives two houses away from the fire, got his 10-year-old daughter, Kaya, out of the house and waited two hours until they were allowed back home.
He said: “When I heard the bang, my first priority was to get Kaya out. She went to school this morning but she’s still a bit shaken up.”
Merseyside Police confirmed an investigation into the explosion is under way.
Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives on 0151 777 2265 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.