TRADERS rushed to the aid of a man who was injured in an explosion at a Southampton takeaway.

The blast occurred at the Happy Garden in Thornhill Park Road, Bitterne, after a 20ft flue at the back of the building was engulfed in flames.

Witnesses said the owner of the takeaway was caught in the explosion, which shredded his clothing and left half his face covered in soot.

Employees at nearby Aardvark Appliances raised the alarm after seeing smoke and noticing a strong smell of burning.

A member of staff, who asked not to be named, said: “The flue was on fire and exploded.

“I went outside and saw a man who was standing with his arms outstretched and appeared to be in a state of shock.

“We got him a chair, sat him down and gave him a drink of water.

“One of the other businesses brought out a plastic bucket full of water so that he could immerse his hands, both of which were burned.”
Another witness added: “Smoke was coming out of the back of the building and the flats above the takeaway were evacuated.

“The fire brigade were called and were here in about three minutes. I saw five fire engines and an ambulance – the response was quite impressive.”

Crews from Hightown and St Mary’s fire stations tackled the blaze, which began shortly after 1pm yesterday.

A South Central Ambulance Service spokesman said a 40-year-old man suffered burns to his hands and was taken to hospital.