FIREFIGHTERS who had just finished striking were called out to reports of a gas explosion at a care home which left a man needing treatment for burns.

About 20 residents at Lindum House in Old Town were evacuated while crews used breathing apparatus to enter a kitchen at the centre of a leak A contractor working in the building on Bath Road was taken by ambulance to hospital with minor burns to his hands. No one else was injured.

The emergency came less than an hour after firefighters finished striking over pensions at stations across Wiltshire. Crews from Swindon, Stratton and Westlea attended after a call shortly before 5pm yesterday along with an aerial appliance, a support vehicle and paramedics.

Firefighters used hose reels as a precautionary measure as they entered the building Swindon station manager Lee Brathwaite said: “We received information suggesting that there had been a gas leak in part of the building. “All services were isolated by the fire service and crews used four breathing apparatus and two hose reels to investigate.

“A contractor working on site received minor burns to his hands and was put in the care of the ambulance service. All residents were evacuated safely.”

Mr Brathwaite added that he was “relieved” to have finished striking in time for the call-out.

An investigation was still taking place last night into early reports that an explosion had taken place in the kitchen, located in the basement of the building.

The hose reels were used by firefighters as a precautionary measure.

The residents were allowed back in the building shortly before 6pm while the fire service carried out checks along the officials from the gas supplier.

A part-time student, who gave his name as Dan, saw a man in overalls being taken into one of four ambulances as he watched from Farleigh College across the road.

The 18-year-old said: “He didn’t look hurt but they put the sirens on as they drove off.”

Rush-hour traffic heading west away from Swindon on Bath Road slowed to a crawl while the scene was made safe.

Lindum House is listed as a residential care home for adult men with learning difficulties.