A HOUSEHOLDER has been arrested after an explosion which completely destroyed his flat in the early hours.
Neighbours were concerned for the whereabouts of Sidney Thomas after they were awoken by a ‘tremendous explosion’ at his address just before 1am on Friday.
Police, who were anxious to trace Mr Thomas, later confirmed the outstanding tenant had ‘been located’.
Chronicle Xtra understands Mr Thomas was found near the Countess of Chester Hospital where his wife Joyce, 71, who was blind and suffered from Parkinson’s disease, died earlier this month.
Mr Thomas was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life but was also admitted to the Countess because of his physical state.
Neighbours looked out of their bedrooms on Friday morning to see an intense orange fire-ball after being woken by an explosion which shook their homes.
Fire crews said nobody would have survived had they been inside the property. Luckily, a man who lives in the flat below escaped uninjured.
Miss Gina Davey, of nearby Wharton Court, said: “I always have my window open. I’m two floors up. My first thought was we had been struck by lightning, it was such a loud bang. Car alarms were going off.
“I jumped out of bed and looked out of the window and saw flames. I rushed to get my little girl. We quickly got dressed and went outside.”
She said her five-year-old daughter, Lola, was so shocked she burst into tears.
Jane Allman, of Hoole Lane, said: “It just went up like a bottle of pop.”
Her son Scott, 21, who woke her, added: “I looked up and I saw an orange light in the window. The flames were higher than the trees.”
Resident Neville McHugh added that the day before he had seen Mr Thomas who told him he was going to see his wife in hospital, leaving him with the impression she was still alive.
“It was a tremendous explosion. It shook the building. My wife said ‘It’s the flat across the road’. It was a hell of a bang.”
Fred Welch, 81, who lives in a flat next the affected block, said: “If you had heard the blast! It would have blown me over the top of them roofs over there.”
He added: “He was carrying black bin bags out of his flat yesterday and taking them to his car. I saw him make about four trips.”