VIDEO AND PICTURES: Can you remember huge Doncaster gas explosion which wrecked a row of shops?

This was the scene of devastation after a massive gas blast which ripped apart a row of shops in Doncaster more than 40 years ago.

Friday, 8th July 2016, 3:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:17 pm
The aftermath of the gas blast in Holmes Market.

Two people were rescued from the flames after an explosion ripped through three shops in Holmes Market on the night of Saturday November 17, 1973.

A string of shops were wrecked in the huge explosion.

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The explosion, caused by a cracked gas pipe, demolished a second-hand shop and a fish and chip shop at the junction of Beckett Road and Queens Road and wrecked a farm produce shop.

Rescue workers pulled an injured man and woman from the flames which engulfed the wreckage of one of the shops.

Both were taken to the intensive care unit of Doncaster Infirmary with severe burns.

The blast, heard as far away as Warmsworth, scattered debris over a wide area and shattered house and shop windows up to 100 yards away. It also knocked out 400 telephones in the area. Engineers worked Saturday and Sunday night repairing them.

The area resembled a war zone after the explosion in November 1973.

Men from Wheatley mines rescue station were called to help police and firemen when it was feared more people might be trapped.

But the second-hand shop was unoccupied and the only other person normally in the buildings Betty Cook who lived above the farm produce shop was out baby-sitting for the night.

Grace Parrish and her husband William were in bed above their sweet shop, two doors from the explosion.

She said: “There was a terrific bang followed by a lesser explosion. We got up and got outside. Two young men helped to get the injured man and woman out. They were marvellous. Every window of our home was smashed and the blast knocked down the conservatory at the back.”

A string of shops were wrecked in the huge explosion.

Monica Margaret, Mrs Parrish’s daughter, was returning home at the time of the explosion shortly before 3am.

She said: “I felt the ground vibrating and saw glass and rubble flying in the air. I immediately thought it was my parent’s shop.”

Gwen Lay, who ran a wool shop next door to the farm produce business, was one of two people slightly hurt who were sent home after treatment at Doncaster infirmary.

Doncaster Fire Brigade put out the blaze.

The area resembled a war zone after the explosion in November 1973.

Streets leading to The Holmes Market area, a row of shops stretching from King’s Road to Queen’s Road, were closed to traffic and bulldozers brought in to clear the wreckage. A mountain of rubble was shifted from the site to nearby Wheatley Lane.

Superintendent Jim Carlin was in charge of a large squad of police controlling the area.