NEIGHBOURS dragged a badly burned man out of his flat after a gas explosion ripped through an apartment block in Pitsea.

The blast took place at a three-story block of flats, Appleford Court, in Pitsea, yesterday afternoon.

One man was taken to hospital for burns to his legs.

A large cordon was put in place as crews fought the ensuing fire.

Speaking at the scene, one mum told the Echo she “has never seen or heard anything like it ever.”

Southend Standard: Scene - the fire could be send from across PitseaScene - the fire could be send from across Pitsea

The mum-of-three said: “It was pretty scary and worrying. I hope everyone in the flats is safe and has somewhere to sleep tonight.”

The 44-year-old added: “It’s just so awful I can’t imagine what they’re going through. I’m sure the community will rally around and help those in need.”

Witnesses say the man who was hurt in explosion was pulled from the flat by his neighbours.

They say he was “badly burnt”.

One witness added: “I heard huge bang and everyone rushed out. There were lots of people around trying to help and get the man out.”

One 78-year-old grandmother-of-five added “The noise and smoke was scary.

“It looked very serious. Can’t quite believe it. The police and firemen are doing an amazing job and people have been taking out bottles of water for them all.”

Carly Hicks, who lives at Appleford Court with her two children, said: “There was a huge explosion and then people shouting to get out get out.

“There was thick black smoke everywhere.

“Residents are being well looked after. Swan have phoned us all to ask if we have somewhere to stay tonight if not they are arranging emergency accommodation for those affected in the same block.

“Swan are amazing. We couldn’t ask for better landlords. I am just waiting to hear about accommodation for tonight.”

Basildon councillor Andrew Ansell, added: “I have contacted Basildon Council’s Chairman of the Housing Committee about the gas explosion to make sure that Basildon Council is doing everything it can to support Pitsea residents.

“I am glad to say Basildon Council is working with Swan Housing to make sure everyone at Appleford Court has a bed to sleep in tonight.

Fire crews worked for several hours to ensure the fire was under control, but requested four more crews and an aerial ladder platform.

The Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team will monitoring the building to look for any signs of collapse in the building.

“If you have been affected by the gas explosion this afternoon, please directly message message me and I will do everything in my power to help you.”

Councillor Luke McKenzie, said: “The main thing is that everyone is safe and I know that Swan Housing who are looking after the welfare of the evacuates will do their best to help everybody.

“But as a councillor, if anyone needs any help I will be there to offer assitance as will the council.”

There was a huge explosion and people were shouting ‘get out get out!’.

Carly Hicks, who lives at Appleford Court with her two children, said: “There was a huge explosion and then people shouting to get out get out.

“There was thick black smoke everywhere.

“Residents are being well looked after. Swan have phoned us all to ask if we have somewhere to stay tonight if not they are arranging emergency accommodation for those affected in the same block.

“Swan are amazing. Couldn’t ask for better landlords. I am just waiting to hear about accommodation for tonight.”