Explosion and confusion around All Saints Church

Residents in houses around Elizabeth Road, which is close to All Saints, were awoken just after midnight last night by a loud blast. It appears a fire had started in the garden shed of a resident which housed oxyacetalene cylinders as used for welding – one had exploded flattening outhouses etc in the neighbouring gardens and there was concern another cylinder would follow suit. Thankfully no injuries have been reported.
Immediately the police evacuated all residents in a 200 metre radius and they were taken to Norreys (Evangelical) Church on Norreys Avenue. Elizabeth Road has been cordoned off and for safety’s sake evacuated residents will not be able to return to their homes until midnight tonight. The advice of the fire service is that the other potentially dangerous cylinders need to be dowsed with water for 24 hours after the fire to ensure safety.
Members of Norreys Evangelical Church and volunteers from the WRVS have been looking after the residents together with members of the Wokingham District Council emergency planning team whilst police have held the cordon throughout the day.
Reverend David Hodgson visited the evacuated residents at the Norreys church to offer the support of the All Saints church community.
Confusion was caused in the town by a false report on BBC Berkshire news and website that the evacuated residents had spent the night in All Saints Church/ The Cornerstone. It seems likely that this arose because members of the emergency services not local to the area had confused the two churches and church halls which are only about 300 metres apart on Norreys Avenue!
News re[ports say a man has been arested in connection with the incident.

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