MORE than 40 firefighters, dozens of ambulance personnel and police were drafted in from all around the county after an explosion in Chippenham town centre today.

A man from a top floor flat near the Market Place was taken to Southmead Hospital in Bristol with serious burns to his face.

Police confirmed tonight that he has since been transferred to a specialist burns hospital in Swansea.

A 999 call was received at 6.12pm by Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to say there had been an explosion in a third floor flat within a mid-terraced building near the BetFred shop.

As it wasn’t known if anyone was in the affected building, five fire engines were sent, from Chippenham, Corsham (two), Calne and Malmesbury, supported by an incident command vehicle from Devizes, the heavy rescue unit from Trowbridge and an aerial appliance with supporting fire engine from Bath.

The explosion took out the roof and side wall of the top storey flat down an alley way near the Market Place.

Police evacuated the area and brought in a special drone unit to survey the damage.

A DW Fire & Rescue Service spokesman said: "By 6.55pm, everyone who could have been in the building was accounted for - one man suffering from serious burns has been taken to Southmead Hospital in Bristol by South Western Ambulance Service.

"The service is now downscaling its presence, although investigations into what happened will continue for some time.

"Volunteers from the British Red Cross are attending to support those affected by the blast, and a building control officer from Wiltshire Council has been requested to check the integrity of the property, which has suffered significant structural damage.

"A cordon has been put in place by the Blue Cross charity shop to St Marys Street by the Tesco junction and up to the Market Place by the small short stay car park and Timber Street.

"The buildings within this cordon are being evacuated. Drivers should avoid the area this evening.

"The fire service is working with Wiltshire Police to determine the cause of the explosion and ensure that the area is safe."