AN explosion in a town centre house left a man with serious injuries and the building ablaze last night.

The blast rocked Chepstow just before 6.30pm and witnesses said they saw a man thrown through the window of a cottage onto Lower Church Street.

He was seen sitting up as people rushed to help and was later taken to Morriston Hospital burns unit in Swansea after an air ambulance landed in a nearby graveyard behind the museum.

People living in neighbouring homes were evacuated following the explosion, which happened opposite the Baptist Church near Chepstow’s Drill Hall just before 6.30pm, and was heard hundreds of yards away.

A cordon was thrown around the area as firefighters fought to bring the blaze under control, which could be seen across the town.

Several reports have blamed the blast on a gas explosion at the back of the house, and Wales and West Utilities said it was working with emergency services to make the area safe and investigate the cause.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said it sent six fire engines and other resources to the blazing property, while Gwent Police said the man who was inside the house at the time of the explosion was taken to hospital with “serious injuries”.