A mother and her two young boys were ‘critical’ in hospital with severe burn injuries after their home was destroyed in a huge explosion.
Nursery worker Jessica Williams, 31, her son Reuben, five and his two-year-old brother, Elliott, were found in the rubble of the demolished three-bedroom house.
Friends said the boys were in so much pain they were ‘put to sleep’ before being airlifted to hospital.
Nursery worker Jessica Williams, 31, her son Reuben, five and his two-year-old brother, Elliott, were found in the rubble of the demolished three-bedroom house in Neath, South Wales
The terraced property was destroyed in a gas explosion yesterday afternoon
Jessica Williams, pictured with her partner Mike David, right, was seriously injured when her home in South Wales was destroyed in an explosion
Their children Reuben and Elliott were also rushed to hospital after yesterday’s explosion
The boys’ father Mike David was in work when he heard there had been an explosion in the village of Seven Sisters, near Neath, South Wales.
He rushed to the scene phoning Ms Williams on the way but was unable to get an answer.
She was unconscious in the rubble but neighbours said she came around when she heard the phone ringing.
Mr David was heard shouting: ‘My girlfriend, my girlfriend’ as he arrived at the house which was blown to bits in the explosion on Wednesday afternoon.
Two local men bravely went into the wrecked property to get Reuben and his little brother to safety before returning for Ms Williams.
Ms Williams was left seriuously injured in the suspected gas explosion at her home in Neath
An air ambulance took the two boys to hospital for emergency treatment
Neighbours claimed the roof was blown more than 40 feet into the air and the blast could be felt half a mile away
Neighbours pulled the family from the rubble before the arrival of the fire brigade
Neighbours said the roof of the family home was blown 40ft up in the air and the force of the blast was felt a quarter of a mile away.
Anthony Parsons, 68, one of the first on the scene, said: ‘It was absolute carnage, the whole front of the house was blasted out into the road.
‘I ran down there and I could see two children, they were only tots.
‘Their mother was in a terrible state, she had burns over her arms and chest, all down her front was burned.’
Project manager Mr Parsons said Ms Williams had been knocked out cold by the huge blast.
He said: ‘I was told that she came around when she heard the phone ringing.’
Care home cleaner Lauren Collins, 29, who works with the boys’ grandfather said they were a lovely family and the whole village was praying for them.
She said: ‘They had to put the two boys to sleep before they were flown to hospital – it’s just terrible.
‘I was driving past when there was a massive boom I felt the vibration in my car.’
Next door neighbour Susan Morgan, 73, who wasn’t in at the time said: ‘They are a lovely, lovely family. This is so sad for them but we are just glad they are alive.’
Neighbouring homes and cars parked in the street were badly damaged by flying masonry, wood and glass.
The local rugby club was opened up for families evacuated in the aftermath of the explosion at 2.05pm on Wednesday.
The blast is believed to be from a gas leak and safety engineers from a utility company were on the scene.
A South Wales Police spokeswoman said: ‘We can confirm the three people injured in the incident, a 31-year-old woman and two boys aged five and two all remain in hospital and are in critical but stable conditions.
‘The road remains closed and we continue to ask people to avoid the area.
‘The cause of the explosion is under investigation.’
An online fund for the family has been set up and £4,000 was raised in just a few hours.