Pensioner injured in house blast after 'using angle grinder to open safe with gunpower inside'

An investigation has been launched into how a man in his 80s came to be seriously hurt in an explosion at a Wigan home.

The pensioner was reportedly trying to open a safe containing gunpowder with an angle-grinder when sparks caused it to detonate.

There was a major emergency response, with 999 services and a bomb disposal team in attendance at the address in Wigan following reports of a blast there on the afternoon of Wednesday February 21. Serious leg injuries were sustained by the victim who is continuing to receive treatment in hospital.

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Early reports said that the man had been injured after “opening a domestic item” and due to the “ignition of a flammable substance.” Then further details emerged of the accident involving the angle grinder, the safe and the gunpowder. Residents reported hearing a loud bang in the mid-afternoon.

A North West Ambulance Service spokesman said paramedics were called shortly after 2.35pm and sent several resources, including a rapid response vehicle, an ambulance and the air ambulance. One firefighter told Wigan Today that the emergency was a “once in a career incident.”

The road was cordoned off as safety checks were carried out to ensure there was no danger of further blasts. Hours after the emergency was first declared, the operation was scaled down.