Batley town centre explosion 'sounded like a bomb'

An explosion that rocked Batley town centre last night 'sounded like a bomb' witnesses said.

Five people were injured when the explosion ripped through a domestic flat on Hick Lane and shattered windows on neighbouring streets.

Scene at Batley

Scene at Batley

The men, aged between 35 and 39, suffered burn injuries and were rushed to hospital for urgent treatment following the blast at around 7pm last night (Wednesday)

Police originally suspected the cause was a gas explosion but it is now being treated as unexplained as enquires continue. It is not currently being investigated as a terrorist incident.

A worker at Emira Nail and Beauty Parlour on Soothill Lane, who asked not to be named, said: "All of a sudden the building shook and the client I was with jumped off the table with the blast. I thought a bomb had gone off - I was scared.

"I went outside and looked across the road. I saw a woman and a man screaming. It looked like they had been dragged out of the building.

Batley town centre

Batley town centre

"I just hope that everyone is OK. It's so sad what's happened. "

Kammy Hussain, a mechanic at the Autofix garage on Field Lane, said: "I thought it was a bomb. It was such a loud bang and it sounded like something had exploded. I've never heard anything like it."

Hassan Shirzad was closing his shop, King Computers on Bradford Road, when the building exploded.

He said: "The whole building shook. I looked outside and saw people running around. I didn't know what it was but I tried not to think about it and just get home to my wife."

Hassan Shirzad

Hassan Shirzad

Today Batley was a ghost town as businesses picked up the pieces.

Only a handful of shoppers could be seen trying to get from one side of town the the other as a vast police cordon blocked the junction around Bradford Road.

The cordon remains in place are drivers are being asked to find alternative routes.

Karen Skinner, who works at The Hidden Secret on Station Road, said: "It's so quiet in town, I've never seen anything quite like it but the traffic getting in was crazy - it took me an hour to get here from Heckmondwike. Things like this don't happen here, not in Batley."

Karen Skinner

Karen Skinner

Detective Superintendent Pat Twiggs, said: “Police and partner agencies have worked throughout the night to ensure the scene is safe and there is no safety risk to members of the public.

“All injured parties are still in hospital receiving treatment for their injuries.

“We will be continuing with our enquiries throughout today and would like to thank the local residents and public for their patience whilst we establish the full circumstances of the incident. At this stage, we are not treating it as a terrorist incident.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call the police via 101 quoting log number 1589 of February 6.