A family of four are in serious condition in hospital after an explosion destroyed a house in Ayr.
Residents were evacuated from part of the Kincaidston area following the incident on Monday evening which police said affected four properties.
Police Scotland said that a family of four were taken to hospital following the blast in Gorse Park, which could be heard for miles around.
A 43-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy are being treated at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, a 47-year-old man at the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and an 11-year-old boy at the Royal Hospital for Children.
Aerial images show that one house in the terrace of four has been destroyed by the blast while the roof of another appears to have caved in and debris is scattered around the area.
Chief Inspector Derrick Johnston, area commander for South Ayrshire, described it as a “complex incident” and said agencies are working together as investigations continue to establish what happened.
He said: “Our thoughts are with the family and everyone within the local community affected by this.
“A joint investigation with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is being carried out.”
He said the family of four are in serious condition in hospital.
Emergency services were called to the scene at about 7.10pm on Monday.
Marcus Tindal-Wiles, 25, who lives near to where the blast occurred, said he’s “never felt anything like it before”.
He told the PA news agency: “The entire building shook from the shockwave.”
The friend of a woman, whose house was directly opposite the blast site in Kincaidston, described the scene as “something you cannot comprehend unless you see the sheer scale of the damage”.
Moira Muir, 59, told the PA news agency: “Her lounge window was blown in and the radiator in her upstairs bathroom was blown off the wall.”
Ms Muir, who runs a holiday home rental in North Ayrshire, rushed to her friend’s aid within 30 minutes of the explosion and added that: “The smell of smoke was quite overpowering, but the biggest shock was seeing the amount of rubble and how far it had travelled.
“I have never seen anything like it.”
South Ayrshire Council said it is working with emergency services to determine who will be able to return to their house and who will not due to “ongoing building safety concerns”.
It is working to establish a reception centre in the area for anyone returning and said it aims to get people back home as soon as possible, but can only do this once it is confident properties are safe.
The council said: “Once we know who may still require accommodation, our housing teams will work with residents to support them.
“As soon as we are clear where the inner cordon lies, we will start the clear-up operation, which requires to be done with sensitivity due to personal effects being included among general debris.”
Councillor Chris Cullen told BBC Good Morning Scotland he thinks that gas caused the explosion.
Describing the scene, he told the programme: “It is quite harrowing actually.
“Early yesterday evening there was a row of houses and now there is a hole.
“Two-and-a-half houses are missing. It is quite shocking how far the debris has fallen and the damage it has caused.”
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said nine fire engines, as well as specialist appliances, were sent to the scene with two remaining on site at 2.30pm on Tuesday.
Ian McMeekin, SFRS Area Commander, said: “This has been an extremely complex and challenging incident which significantly damaged multiple properties in the area and resulted in the evacuation of other nearby homes.
“We will remain in attendance for some time as we work with our partners to ensure the area is safe.”
Gas distribution company SGN was helping emergency services.