Video: Clipstone woman cheats death as boiler explodes

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A Clipstone woman is lucky to be alive after a disused back boiler blew up just feet from her face.

Susan Woods, 54 was hospitalised after the freak explosion in the front room of her house on Fifth Avenue on Friday.

She said firefighters told her she could have been decapitated by the power of the explosion had she not been sitting behind a coffee table.

Recovering from her ordeal this week, care worker Susan said: “It’s a wonder I am still here.

“I was just sitting in the front room on the settee in front of the fire with my sister Marilyn having a coffee

“All of a sudden it was like a bomb had gone off.”

”It was terrifying - I didn’t know what had happened.

“I blanked for a bit and then started shouting for my sister.

Husband Malcolm said: “I lit the Rayburn fire at 2pm and at 3.15pm there was an almighty bang.

“Sue was screaming and shouting - I managed to break through the door and get them both out - it all happened so quickly.”

Mrs Woods was caught up in the full brunt of the blast. Flying fragments of bricks and mortar pierced one of her eyes, and her head, face and legs were covered in cuts and bruises.

She was taken to hospital and kept overnight for observation after medics removed fragments from her eye.

She was x-rayed for potential damage to her pelvis and chest.

Fortunately her sister was not seriously injured in the incident.

Fire crews Crews from Mansfield, Edwinstowe and a specialist rescue team from Tuxford attended the scene, along with a gas engineer.

The damaged property and a neighbour’s house were made safe by firefighters.

Structural engineers from Mansfield District Council have propped up the chimney breast.

But Susan is still too scared to go back into the room which was left resembling a bomb site.

Perforations from the blast are clearly visible on the wall behind the settee.

“A fireman said if it hadn’t been for the coffee table in front of the fire protecting me I could have been chopped in half,” she said.

“I have been so unnerved by this, I want to move out as soon as possible. Someone dropped a leaflet through the door this morning and it terrified me.”

The couple have thanked neighbours who rallied round to help them after the incident.

They have lived at the private rented semi for 10 weeks.

Mr Woods said they had been assured the coal fire was safe to use.

He said: “We were told the fire had been used by previous tenants. We only lit it for a bit of extra warmth.

“The fire service told us the explosion was probably down to the old back boiler having no water in it.”

A Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We would urge anyone who believes they may have disused solid fuel back boiler in their home to seek professional advice about the appropriate protection or venting of the system, or having it removed completely.”

More information about risks from redundant solid fuel back boilers is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/localgovernment/boilers.htm .