A barber has spoken of his ‘heartache’ after his business was partially destroyed following a gas explosion.

Iftikhar Ahmed, of London Road Gents Hair Cutting, said he was unsure what would happen next.

He also revealed he would normally be at the barbers which is based on the corner of Inkerman Street until late most days but is off on Sundays.

London Road Gents Hair Cutting has been based at the location for 16 years and is said to be one of the most popular barber shops in town.

On Sunday, just after 7.30pm, an explosion destroyed a home in London Road and caused damage to several other properties. 

Lancashire Police is continuing to investigate the exact cause of the explosion, though it is believed to have been caused by gas.

Mr Ahmed said: “Sunday is normally my day off and I am here on other days 'til 7.30 to 8pm.

“If this was a Saturday I would have been here. I normally stay around to clean up a little as Sunday is my day off.”

A family of four were living in an upstairs flat at the end-terrace property, which is owned by Mr Ahmed.

Mr Ahmed said: “They were still inside when it happened and the most important thing is that they are okay and so is everyone else.

“They were completely shocked as is everyone.”

He said he found out as people rang to find out if he was safe.

“People started ringing me and shared videos of what was going on. I was completely shocked.

“People were calling me to see if I was ‘okay’.

“News and videos were going everywhere.”

Asian Image: The barber on London Road was based directly next to the blast.

Residents of evacuated properties in Inkerman Street and Blackburn Road were allowed back into their properties on Tuesday to gather belongings.

Mr Ahmed said he had not been told how long it would take to repair, but he had been allowed back into the building to salvage items and also remove some furniture.

He said: “This is heartbreaking. I have no idea how long we will be closed. This is really difficult.

“It is already a difficult times for local businesses. We still have bills and mortgages to pay.

“The full wall I have been told may have to come down.

“The council and emergency services have been good so far taking all the reports. All we can do at the moment is wait for the investigation to be completed.

“They have not said anything right now until the investigation finishes.

“Inshallah [God willing] nobody was seriously injured and people survived, that is the most important thing.

“Kids were living there and next door. I am thankful most of all that nobody got injured.

“That Sunday everybody was off and there was no mosque either otherwise there would have been more people walking past.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council deputy leader Councillor Quesir Mahmood was at the site on Wednesday.

He said: “It a challenging situation and it is quite upsetting as to what has happened in the last couple of days.

“It is a slow process. The Health and Safety Executive and council building teams have been working hard to get things resolved.

“We seem to be making some process.

“It is great to see the community come together and support one another and we are very thankful of that.

“It is going to take us a bit longer to get to a point where the houses that remain are safe and can be occupied.”