AN explosion blew out the front windows of a new Chinese nail bar in Horwich.

The dramatic scene unfolded at Lee Lane salon TA Nails — which has not even opened yet — at about 4pm.

The area was evacuated and cordoned off as the emergency services investigated what was initially thought to be a gas leak.

TA's owners did not wish to speak to The Bolton News, aside from one saying: "We are lucky to be alive."

Four people were in the back of the shop at the time but none were injured, simply being treated for shock at the scene.

The cordon was lifted and Lee Lane reopened at about 6pm, with the blast not thought to be suspicious.

Rather than a gas leak, investigators are working on the theory that the explosion was accidental and linked to something in the shop.

The front of the shop was badly damaged, with all the windows popped out.

Police confirmed that a number of surrounding properties were evacuated as a precaution.

Becky Sharpe at neighbouring Calista Nail and Beauty Salon was painting the nails of regular customer Sue French when the explosion happened.

The pair were forced to delay the job by two-and-a-half hours, with Mrs French held in celebrating her husband's birthday.

Ms Sharpe said: "I was here doing Sue's nails and I heard this bang.

"At first I thought it was one of those a-boards blowing into the road and hitting a car.

"When I looked out I saw the woman screaming at the guy and there were children coming from school so it must have been scary for them to see.

"If somebody had been walking past as it went off and been blown into the road you dread to think what would have happened."

She added: "I am in shock and I have had to cancel the three clients that I had today — it is really disruptive for my business."

The blast was also heard by Dave Pawson, the landlord of the nearby Victoria and Albert pub.

He said: “My barman had just walked past that window about 15 seconds before the explosion — so he is very lucky.

“The glass from the window travelled all the way onto the other side of the road and the window frame was on the pavement.”

The explosion happened in the former Aladdin’s Carpets shop, which is being re-opened as TA Nails.

Fire service station manager Geoff Thornley said: “We are currently investigating the cause of this explosion, which has damaged the front of the shop. We believe the explosion was accidental and four people were inside when it happened.

“Thankfully none of the people involved are seriously injured, but all four of them have been treated for shock at the scene."

The fire service worked with a building inspector to make sure the building was safe before allowing the tenants back in.

Sgt Carl Hodson from GMP’s Bolton division said: “Enquiries are ongoing with the fire service into the exact cause of this explosion, but we can confirm there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding this incident.

“The police cordon has now been lifted as the scene has been made safe.”