Location: South Shields, England
On Saturday, 24 September 1870 a "Serious Gas Explosion" took place in the dwelling-house of Mr. John Edgar, draper, Charlotte Street, South Shields.
"When Mr Edgar returned home from business, a little before twelve o'clock, he found strong smell of gas in the sitting-room, which he attributed to an escape from the chandelier. Not thinking it was anything serious, he lit a candle in a back room and then went into the yard to procure some water to put down the pipe. He had only been absent from the house a few seconds when the explosion took place with a crash which was heard over the whole neighbourhood.
The results were of a very serious nature, the house being so much damaged that it is feared it will have to be wholly rebuilt. The kitchen, erected in the yard, was completely blown down, the bricks flying in all directions, though, singular to say, not one touched Mr Edgar, who was standing at the tap only a short distance off...
Nothing is known to how the gas had escaped, the house having been closed during the day through the absence of Mr Edgar's wife!"