A VILLAGE in North Yorkshire was rocked when a gas blast left a house in ruins, ten years ago this week.

Jonathan Neale raced to the property, which he rents out to a tenant in Crakehall, Bedale, after his sister raised the alarm.

What greeted him was "total devastation" - the cottage razed to the ground with only rubble remaining.

Loading article content

"My first concern was for the chap who lives in it because he could have been home from work, " he said. "I noticed his van wasn't there and I quickly rang him to find out where he was, to be sure, and he was okay."

Mr Neale saw there was a gas bottle near the building and risked his life to turn it off.

He said: "I thought I should turn it off and I went up to it and then chickened out. I thought I would leave it to the firefighters.

"But the fire was getting hold and I thought I must at least turn it off, because it was fuelling the fire."

Mr Neale said his heart went out to his tenant, Mick, a motor engineer, and he was "desperate" to salvage what he could for him."

EVENTS took place in the region and nationally to mark the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster.

Ten years earlier, on the 40th anniversary in 1998, the actions of a Darlington stewardess came to light. Margaret Bellis, who was aged 37 at the time, helped to rescue survivors from the wreckage.

Eight members of the Manchester United team died in the crash, along with 15 non-players.

After climbing over wreckage, Miss Bellis returned to the plane to help others escape unhurt.

The plane's captain, Jim Thain, wrote to her, saying: "Your courage was an inspiration to us all."I can only say how proud I was and how fortunate I was in having you in the crew."

Miss Bellis died five months after the 40th anniversary, aged 77, in a Darlington nursing home.

In other news, 200 post offices across the North-East and North-Yorkshire were facing the threat of closure amid claims from MPs warned that the closure programme was "rushed and shrouded in secrecy."

Chairman of the Commons business committee, Peter Luff said: "Consultation has been curtailed and the whole process has been rushed”.

In Hartlepool, a toddler flooded his parents' home, causing nearly £5,000 worth of damage after he left the top from a tube of toothpaste in a plughole.

Kellyann Boocock, 28, was in the bathroom helping her two sons, Jaydn, four, and Ben, two, brush their teeth.

As she led Jaydn downstairs, she turned her back on Ben, who turned the sink tap back on and followed her.

Ms Boocock, from Hartlepool, returned home an hour later after she dropped Jaydn off at nursery to find the house flooded.

She said: "Water was running down the walls of the living room, and the kitchen ceiling had collapsed."