‘His head was pouring with blood’ – Teenage boy left with life-changing injuries after Letchworth bunker gas canister explosion

The entrance to an air raid shelter on Pixmore Avenue where a gas explosion injured a boy

The entrance to an air raid shelter on Pixmore Avenue where a gas explosion injured a boy - Credit: Archant

An eyewitness has spoken of her disbelief after she helped a seriously injured teenage boy who had a gas canister explode in his face.

Owner of Totally At Home cafe Elaine Hargreaves who administered first aid to a young boy who was in

Owner of Totally At Home cafe Elaine Hargreaves who administered first aid to a young boy who was injured in a gas explosion in an air raid shelter on Pixmore Avenue - Credit: Archant

The teenager was in a derelict bunker in Pixmore Avenue, Letchworth, with two other boys on Saturday afternoon when he suffered what may be life-changing injuries.

After the shock explosion, the boys staggered into the road, with the injured youth clutching his face as blood trickled down his head.

Elaine Hargreaves was working at the cafe in Totally At Home around the corner when she heard a car screech to a halt as the boys wandered into the road.

She said: “He was very shaken and really badly injured. I don’t know what they had been up to.


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“The boy had staggered into the road and was holding his head which was pouring with blood.

“We stemmed the bleeding and kept him warm, comforting him and his friends until the emergency services arrived.”

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The teenager was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for further treatment.

Two rapid response vehicles, an ambulance crew, and an area response team were all called to the scene.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “The ambulance was called at 1pm on Saturday afternoon. One of the boys had a serious injury to his eye. Two other boys were treated at the scene. The injury is potentially life changing.”

A spokeswoman for Herts police added: “Officers attended and located three boys at the scene – two aged 14 and one aged 12.

“Following enquiries at the location, it was established a gas canister had exploded causing injuries to one of the teenagers.”

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