THREE men escaped death when a van’s LPG tank exploded on a farm near St Neots.

One of the men was using a disc cutter on the van in a Dutch barn at Rectory Lane, Pertenhall Road, Great Staughton, at 2.05pm yesterday (Thursday), creating a spark, setting fire to upholstery inside the van, causing the LPG tank to explode.

The blast was so powerful the roof of the Dutch barn's roof was lifted off its walls and the van's roof is embedded in the roof of the barn.

A woman called the fire service after hearing a loud bang and saw smoke coming from the barn.

John Barlow, station commander, said: "It would appear someone was using a disc cutter on the LPG van and this created a spark, setting fire to some upholstery causing the LPG tank to explode. The explosion was so severe that it lifted the roof of the Dutch barn off its walls and the roof of the van has become embedded into the roof of the barn.

"How the three men inside the barn escaped serious injury or even death is amazing. They are very lucky to be alive.

"We would strongly advise people to be extremely cautious around LPG vehicles, as it only takes a spark to ignite even a tiny amount of LPG fuel inside the compressed tank."

Crews from St Neots and Huntingdon attended and were back on base by 3.45pm.