Unit complex rocked by gas explosion

A gas explosion on Wednesday night caused extensive damage to a Tumut unit, but the resident was uninjured.

A Tumut man is lucky to be alive after a gas explosion at his home on Simpson St blew a hole through his kitchen/bathroom wall on Wednesday evening, throwing him to the ground.

Josh Gidney, a journalist at the Tumut and Adelong Times, said he had just finished frying a T-Bone steak sometime between 7.30-8pm and was trying to turn the stove off when the incident occurred.

“I found I couldn’t turn off the gas jet,” he said. 

“I was fiddling around with it, trying to put it out and it wouldn’t turn off. All of a sudden, there’s this massive loud bang and a sheet of flame and I’m on my way to the ground.”

Mr Gidney said he may have been knocked unconscious by the force of the explosion, but he didn’t suffer anything worse than some minor burns and singing of his hair.

Neighbours from flats above and beside Mr Gidney’s flat came to check on the noise, with some reporting picture frames had been knocked from their walls by the force of the bang.

In Mr Gidney’s flat, a hole was punched through the wall, windows were shattered outwards and fly screens were shot out of the doors into the back yard.

“My neighbours had already gathered around to see if I was okay,” Mr Gidney remembered. 

“They’d heard the loud bang and they’d seen the fly screen pop out from my bathroom, saw it go flying about 10 metres out into the yard.

“I freaked out when I saw the damage to the back of the wall near the stove, a massive gaping hole into the bathroom.”

One of the neighbours drove Mr Gidney to Tumut Hospital and he was then transferred to Wagga Base, given the “severity of the event.”

When asked on Thursday morning how he was doing, he replied, “Medium rare.”

Mr Gidney said there are suspicions that a leak behind the stove somewhere led to a build-up of gas in the wall cavity, but it’s still being investigated.

NSW Fire and Rescue Tumut Deputy Captain Kevin Malone said the station was called ‘almost as an afterthought’ between 8.30-9pm.

“We were only called as a courtesy call to say there had been a fire there and an explosion and could we check it out,” said Mr Malone, adding that it was clear there had been gas leaking somewhere, but the source was still being investigated.

“There was no fire. We just made sure that the gas was turned off, then we turned the electricity off, checked the area to make sure there was nothing smouldering and then we secured the place.”

Mr Malone described the event as ‘amazing’ given the limited fire damage, but extensive structural damage.

Neighbours on Thursday morning remarked on how ‘lucky’ Mr Gidney was to have walked away shaken but not badly injured, given the damage suffered by the home.

“It’s very unusual,” said Mr Malone.