A man is in a critical condition after an explosion destroyed a house and damaged several others in Birmingham.
The man was in the property at the time of the blast and was helped out by people at the scene, the West Midlands ambulance service said. Four others were assessed by ambulance crews for minor conditions and were not taken to hospital, the service said.
West Midlands police said one house has been destroyed and other properties significantly affected, while cars have also been damaged after the incident in the Kingstanding area.
There were reports that the blast could be heard two miles away.
All emergency services, including six fire crews, and utility companies are at the scene on Dulwich Road after police were called at 8.38pm.
The cause of the explosion has yet to be established.
Police said residents are being evacuated and people have been urged to avoid the area. They thanked those who had “helped shocked and injured neighbours”.
Footage on social media showed flames, damage and debris from a terraced redbrick house. Aerial shots shared on Twitter showed flames billowing into the sky.
West Midlands police said earlier: “There are reports of casualties but the number and severity of their injuries is unknown at this time. Those evacuated will be told where to meet.
“People in the area must immediately follow the instructions of first responders.
“Dulwich Road and surrounding roads are closed and will be for a very long time. Please help us by avoiding the area.”
Rick Payne, a city councillor for the ward, heard a “massive explosion” while watching television and walked across to Dulwich Road to see what had happened.
He told PA Media: “The police are just saying that there’s quite a lot of houses damaged as a result – probably up to five or six houses. The house itself, where the explosion occurred, has physically been destroyed. Houses either side have, partially. Then the houses further along the street have been damaged collaterally from the blast.”
Payne added he spoke to a council colleague in Erdington, two miles away, who “said it could be heard quite clearly”.
A spokesman for West Midlands ambulance service said: “A man was helped from the property by people at the scene but had suffered very serious injuries.
“After assessment and treatment at the scene, he was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth hospital Birmingham. His condition on arrival at hospital was described as life-threatening.
“Four further men have been assessed by ambulance crews for minor conditions but have been discharged at the scene.”
The service added that three ambulances, five paramedics, a trauma doctor and critical care paramedic and a hazardous area response team were among those who had been sent to the scene.
West Midlands fire service said: “At 8.38pm fire crews responded to multiple reports of an explosion on Dulwich Lane, Kingstanding. The explosion, the cause of which is unknown at this time, has destroyed one property and caused damage to other properties and vehicles nearby.
“We are working hard with colleagues from West Midlands police, West Midlands ambulance, Cadent Gas and National Grid to manage this incident.”