Cheltenham residents evacuated from homes due to fire

A woman has been taken to hospital and people evacuated from their homes due to a house fire.

Emergency services were called to a home in the Springbank area of Cheltenham at about 21:40 GMT on Thursday.

Lukas Kapinski, who lives near the house which was severely damaged, said he "suddenly heard a really loud bang" and ran outside to see what it was.

"I saw the house on fire, and there was lots of rubble on the street," he said.

House damaged by fire in Cheltenham
Pictures show the home has suffered significant damage

Mr Kapinski said he had been talking with his family in their lounge when he heard the noise which "really scared us".

"I ran outside to see what happened. First into the garden but there was nothing there so then I ran to the front of the house and saw people running and shouting," he added.

Mr Kapinski and a group of residents then began knocking on neighbours' doors to tell them to leave the area in case the fire spread.

House on fire in Cheltenham
Fire crews were called the house in the Springbank area of Cheltenham on Thursday night

Police were still on the scene on Friday morning, along with gas supply and connection company Wales and West Utilities.

Springbank Community Centre, near Springbank Primary Academy, has been opened for residents who need support or somewhere to stay.

House damaged by fire in Cheltenham
Police and gas company workers were on the scene on Friday morning

Mr Kapinksi said the area has an excellent community spirit and people always helped each other in times of need.

He added: "I have been here five years and I can't imagine living somewhere else. The people are so helpful, when something happens we always team up together and help each other.

"It's so scary what happened. It could have happened any time of the day, like when kids are going to school.

"It's quite a busy area with a school where my daughter goes. It could have been terribly tragic."

Another resident said they also heard a loud bang before seeing the flames.

"I was worried because my dad lives next door. He had to stay with us last night. He went back this morning and there is still no gas," they said.

"We saw the flames. It was very scary. It was open [the community centre] last night and looked after us all."

Gloucestershire Police has put a cordon in place.

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