A heroic first responder has told how stricken people were “pulled from under the rubble” following a horror explosion in Ayr.
Chris McNicol, who lives on nearby Thistle Walk, told how he rushed out to help find those injured after the blast.
Locals described the noise as sounding like a bomb, and it is believed it could be heard up to three miles away.
Two adults and two children have been taken to hospital after four homes were damaged by a huge explosion at Gorse Park in Kincaidston at around 7.10pm on Monday, October 18.
40-year-old Chris said as he ran towards the rubble, he could see an injured child in a garden, and a man’s arm reaching out from under debris.
Chris also said he could hear a woman screaming but struggled to see through the dust.
He told the Record: “It was like no noise I’ve ever heard before in my life.
“I ran to my back door, at first I thought it was a car that had exploded.
“Then I heard a neighbour frantically shouting, ‘I’m going, I’m going’ and that’s when I knew it was serious.
“There’s a bit of grass there were kids are always playing, they’re all the same age as my nephew and are his pals at school, so the adrenaline kicked in. I got my trainers on and ran out.
“I just couldn’t believe it when I saw what had happened.
“Once I got out I could see two guys with a kid and the man was on the phone.
“There was also a woman who must have been a nurse, she was helping someone.
“I was looking at the rubble and I could see a hand sticking out from underneath.
“There was a guy already searching, and he asked if there was anyone else injured. Then he got folk to quieten down so he could actually hear if someone was shouting.
“We heard someone calling out for help, they were maybe two or three meters away but you couldn’t see them. I think it was a female voice.”
Chris and other first responders at the scene helped a young boy who had injured his leg in a garden.
He said: “The kid who we did get to, what a lad. He was crying with fear rather than pain.
“He was just sitting there in the middle of the garden, just in shock.
“That wee lad, how he didn’t have more cuts and bruises I’ll never understand.
“When I got there it was just his foot that was stuck in the debris and we were trying to get things moved to free him.”
Chris said: “Within five minutes the fire brigade were here.
“There was a lot of smoke and dust pummelling out the front of the building but no fire. You could see the smoke but couldn’t see the flames. I was only there for five, ten minutes then we were told we had to move in case there was another explosion.
“Folk were just running about trying to help.
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“We helped get the kid out and the fire service did the rest.
“You see this things on the news and you never think it will happen to you. At the time the adrenaline is running but later on it hit me.”
After his heroics, Chris rushed off to work a 10pm-6am shift in McDonalds in Ayr.
He said: “I think it was probably for the best, to keep my mind off it.
“I’ve still not slept, I’ve tried to come out here to help clean the rubble up and hopefully make myself tired.”
“It was just that one kid and the two other people were under the rubble.”
In a statement, Police Scotland said: “Around 7.10pm on Monday, 18 October, emergency services were called to a report of an explosion on Gorse Park, Ayr.
“Four houses have been affected by the explosion.
“Two adults and two children have been taken to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock.
“A number of premises have been evacuated and two local rest centres have been set up to assist.
“Emergency services are currently at the scene working with other agencies.
“Enquiries are ongoing to establish the cause of the explosion.
“Local road closures are in place and we would advise people to avoid the area at the present time.”
A spokesperson for gas company SGN said: “At around 8pm last night we received a request to assist the emergency services following the reports of a serious explosion in Gorse Park, Ayr.
“We understand four people are being treated at a local hospital and our thoughts are with them and their families.
“Our engineers are continuing to work with the emergency services to ensure the immediate vicinity is made safe in our role as the gas emergency service.
“While it is too early to speculate as to what has happened, we are working closely with the authorities to help discover the cause.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We received a call at 19:16hrs to attend an incident at Gorse Park, Ayr, alongside Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
“We dispatched a number of resources to the scene, including an air ambulance.
“We transported two adults and two children by road to Crosshouse hospital.”