NEIGHBOURS rescued an elderly couple from their home after a gas explosion.

Homes have been evacuated as a precaution after the explosion in Rydal Grove, Farnworth, at 2.40pm.

Police officers, the fire service and paramedics are at the scene.

An air ambulance has also been sent to the area and two people – a man and a woman in their 70s – have suffered injuries. The man is said to be in a 'serious condition'.

An ambulance service spokesman said: "Two elderly patients who have sustained burns have been treated by our clinicians and taken by ambulance to Wythenshawe Hospital. One of the patients, a man in his 70s, is in a serious condition."

Ashley Chalke, aged 29, rushed into the house with friend Nathan Wallwork, aged 28, and got the couple out of the property

He said: “We just heard an explosion and it was quite a big one. It was quite a noise.

“We both went down to them just to get them out.

“They were very shaken and a bit burnt but they seemed to be okay.

“The explosion had blown out some of the windows and there was a fire in the kitchen.

“She was in the front room and she seemed shaken and he came to the door so we got them out.”

One neighbour whose house was inside the cordon said: “All we’ve been told is that there was a gas explosion and we can’t go in the house.

“I am shocked at what happened and I hope they recover.” 

The area at the end of Rydal Grove has been cordoned off while investigators from the fire service comb the scene. 

A fire service spokesman said: "On arrival at the incident, firefighters found two people had been able to get themselves from the house.

"Firefighters proceeded to use two breathing apparatus and a gas protege meter to survey the area and ensure no further incidents would occur.

"The two casualties were taken into care by paramedics on the scene.

"There is currently a cordon in place and a number of houses in the road have been evacuated as a matter of precaution.

"The cause of the incident is currently being investigated and the incident is ongoing."

A police spokesman confirmed officers were responding to a reported gas explosion.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “Our role in this incident is to support Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service in establishing what has happened.

“Our concern is the welfare of the residents and the neighbours in the street.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting incident number 1192 of February 4, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Cllr Sue Haworth said: "Very sad to hear about the home gas explosion in Rydal Grove in Highfield, today.

"This has shocked the residents in the small quiet cul-de-sac as well as the surrounding homes.

"All thoughts are with the two injured residents who are receiving hospital care.

"There was a first class response from the police, fire service and the air ambulance today, which everyone is grateful for.

"This has meant the evacuation of residents in the neighbouring properties as well as police communicating with people in the area to reassure the neighbourhood.

"People are naturally fearful when they hear explosions these days."