A 93-YEAR-OLD widow survived an explosion that ripped her terraced house apart, throwing debris more than 100 yards and smashing four cars.

Dorothy Bland was found standing in her wrecked kitchen with flames around her. As rescuers carried her out, she told them: "I was only making a cup of tea."

Last night, she was recovering from burns and head injuries in intensive care at Newcastle General Hospital, and structural engineers were preparing to demolish her home in Heaton, Newcastle.

Neighbour Margaret Humes, 38, was in her bedroom getting ready for bed on Sunday when she heard a bang.

She said: "I thought a bomb had gone off. The whole house shook and I thought the windows would come in.

"When I looked out of the front, I could see there was glass everywhere and the four cars parked next to mine were smashed to pieces.

"I ran outside and Dorothy's front window was hanging out of the front of her house.

"You could see through it, right to the back of the house, but Dorothy was standing surrounded by flames, silhouetted by the fire. We shouted to her to get out, but she is deaf and just stood there."

Neighbour Hazel Wilson, 27, and her partner, Jonathan Ponton, 29, who run a building company, said they had been told parts of their new home might have to be demolished.

Fire Brigade officer Mick English said: "Early indications are that it appears to have been a gas leak."