THE cause of a gas blast in which a man died when his house was torn apart has now been established – and it has been concluded that no-one was to blame.

Paul Wilmott, a 63-year-old father-of-one, died when his home in Haxby near York was destroyed in the early morning explosion on February 19.

A detailed investigation by a team of experts has now found there was no evidence of any criminality or any breaches of health and safety law.

Investigators found the explosion resulted from the fracture of a gas pipe buried in the property’s concrete floor which led to an uncontrolled gas escape which ignited, causing the explosion.

However, the copper pipe was installed when the property was constructed in the early 1970s and while it was not protected in anyway, it was installed in accordance with the standards of the day.

The investigators found no evidence of recent gas work at the property or interference with the pipe that could have affected its integrity.

However the pipe did show evidence of corrosion over a long period of time and it fractured at a point where two different concrete slabs, which formed the floor of the house, met.

And bad weather before the explosion had resulted in the surrounding ground becoming waterlogged – which could have led to ground movement causing the floor slabs to move.

The investigation was carried out jointly by police and the Health and Safety Executive and their report will now be passed to the coroner for the inquest – a date for which has still to be fixed.

The Gas Safe Register described it as a “very unusual type of failure” as pipework buried in concrete did not generally pose a significant risk.

It said concerned residents could contact a registered gas engineer to undertake a safety check.