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Eyewitnesses have described how they saw neighbours pull a mother and her two young children from the rubble of a house that exploded in south Wales.
Emergency services were called to a property in Seven Sisters, near Neath, after reports of an explosion at 2.05pm on Wednesday.
Police say the woman, named locally as Jessica Williams, 31, and her two sons aged two and five suffered critical injuries in the blast and remain in hospital, while the cause of the explosion is still being investigated.
South Wales Police said their injuries were described as serious.
Community councillor Gary James, who lives 300 metres from the house, said a group of residents including former firefighter Jeff Davies immediately went to help the young family following the “incredibly loud” bang.
He told BBC Radio Wales: “It’s a close-knit community, and I know for a fact that neighbours rushed to the scene. And they helped the two young children out of the front of the house.
“I spoke to a gentlemen, Jeff Davies, and him and his friends, irrespective of their own safety, rushed in because they could see the mother was trapped. They cleared the rubble away to get the mother to safety.
“When she came out she walked say 50 metres to the ambulance.
“It’s a major shock to the community and obviously our thoughts are with the young family who were living there.
“I’ve never, ever heard such a loud blast or bang, and I hope I never will again.”
Davies said he was joined by five others and they used joists from the collapsed roof to move the woman from the back of the property.
He said: “It was unbelievable the scene, shocking.
“Normally the wise thing would be to stand back and watch and let others come, but obviously there’s always a delay until the services come and when you hear people and know there’s people in the building your natural instinct is to help.”
About 14 properties have been evacuated and Neath Port Talbot Council has opened a rest centre for affected residents.
Kirsten Williams, 24, was in the garden of her mother and father-in-law down the road from the property when they heard the explosion.
She told the PA news agency: "The conservatory shook. A massive bang.
"My mother-in-law suggested a car crash or a lorry. I said no, that's an explosion.
"My father-in-law rushed up the drive and saw people running across the road and called us up.
"I grabbed my 17-month-old son and off we went to see.
"What shook me the most was a small baby teddy bear was there laying on top of a car roof.”
The Welsh Ambulance Service said five emergency vehicles responded to the scene, while an air ambulance also attended.
A police spokeswoman said: "South Wales Police received numerous reports of an explosion at a property in Church Road, Seven Sisters, on Wednesday at 2.05pm.
"A number of properties and vehicles in the street have been damaged and the area has been evacuated.
"Three people, one adult and two children, have been injured in the incident.
"We remain at scene with emergency service colleagues and ask people to continue to avoid the area at this time.”