A man told has told how he miraculously escaped death when his home was destroyed in a gas blast sparked — when he lit a cigarette.
Terrified Wayne Moore, 37, was at home in Exeter, Devon, with his mum Irene Stoneman, 57, when he flicked on a lighter to smoke a fag.
But the spark ignited gas which had been leaking into the home for two days and caused a huge explosion – which virtually destroyed the house.
Both front and backs walls and the roof were blown off and Wayne was knocked off his feet and hurled out into the garden.
Wayne and his mother crawled out from under the rubble and were rushed to hospital where they are both being treated at a burns unit.
He was still recovering yesterday with burned skin across his face and head and his eyebrows and hairline missing from the blast.
His home and three others in the terraced row are now to be knocked down after officials ruled they were too badly damaged to be repaired.
Speaking from his hospital bed Wayne recalled the moment his lit the cigarette – and his home blew up.
Catering manager Wayne said: ”I didn’t even manage to light my cigarette – I hit the lighter and that was it – a massive explosion.
”I have absolutely no idea how it happened. I’ve only heard that some neighbours smelled gas two days before and reported it.
”I remember everything. I remember a massive ball of flames engulfing me and the house and part of the ceiling falling in.
”I was blown through the hole where the front door used to be – the front door wasn’t there.”
Wayne and his mother were severely burned in the explosion when the home exploded on May 6.
Their pet Scottie dog Harry escaped unhurt but his owners are still be treated at a burns unit at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.
Wayne said: ”I hit some steps and debris landed on top of me. I was on fire but my immediate thought was ‘Where’s my mother?’.
”I tried to put myself out my hands were on fire and my hair was on fire. I ripped my jacket off and put myself out.
”I looked down at my hands – there were layers of skin hanging off like talons. I saw my mother – she had got herself out of the rubble after managing to walk out of the house.
”An elderly lady asked me if there was anything she could do and I just “I need ice, get me some ice.
”There were a couple of people with mum at this point and I was just walking aimlessly – I was in absolute agony.
”The pain in my hands is horrific – 24 hours a day. The swelling in my face at the start was so bad I couldn’t see properly
”The best way to describe my face is like a chemical peel. When I looked at it after the day of the explosion, it was horrific.”
The cause of the explosion is still being investigated by fire chiefs who suspect it was caused by a gas leak.
Wayne said: ”If I find out it is a gas leak someone should pay. My mother and I have been left with serious injuries and if someone is guilty they shouldn’t get away with it.”