A PECKISH pensioner had a lucky escape when a camping stove exploded as he prepared to cook at a Betws sheltered housing complex on Saturday afternoon.

The would-be chef was left shaken by the explosion, which is understood to have badly damaged the wall of his flat at Glanafon.

The explosion led to 17 people being evacuated from their homes after two fire engines from the Mid and West Wales Fire Service raced to the scene at around 4pm.

There were no reports of a fire and no reported injuries.

Afire service spokeswoman said there was damage to the exterior of the property along with a ceiling and carpet. “Seventeen people were evacuated fromthe building,”

she said. “Firefighters made sure the scene was safe.”

An employee at nearby Tout’s Garage said the first they knew of the drama was when they saw the fire engines and an ambulance speeding past.

“We know the poor chap who caused this,” she said.

“He told me he’d borrowed a little camping stove and put something on it when – in his own words – there was an almighty bang as the bloody thing blew up.”

A spokeswoman for Glanafon said it was hoped all residents could return to their flats by yesterday (Tuesday).

“We’re still a little at sixes and sevens, but everyone has pulled together and the staff and residents are coping well," she said.

“Some residents have had to spend a couple of nights with their relatives but, fingers crossed, we’re hoping to get everyone back in on Tuesday.”

A spokesman for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “One person was treated at the scene but they were not taken to hospital – paramedics left at 5.04pm.”