SHOCKED neighbours told how they heard a loud bang during an early morning explosion at a house.

Firefighters were called to Highfield Gardens in Blackburn at 8.10am today after reports of an explosion.

Resident Stephen Gillibrand, 41, spoke of being woken up by the 'humongous explosion' which he said had blown some of the windows and doors from the house. 

Mr Gillibrand said: "I live next door and I was in bed ill when I was woken up by a really loud bang.

"It was a humongous explosion like an artillery shell hitting the house.

"I then heard screaming from the neighbours in the house and the sound of glass and rubble falling.

"I popped my head out through the door and saw a man and woman and two kids in their pyjamas and obviously panicking at what had happened. They were treated by ambulance crews and weren't injured.

He went on to describe how he saw three fire engines and an ambulance as well as people from the gas and electric board, three armed response officers and four police officers.

He said: "The explosion itself blew the casement out from the window and damaged the front door as well as causing a crack in the house.

"The back patio doors of the house and kitchen window were blown completely out."

Another resident added: "I woke up and heard a loud bang and saw the ambulance, police and fire service outside.

"I'm just glad to hear that everyone is okay."

A fire service spokesman said the house had structural damage and firefighters also had to make the building safe.

Three people were taken to hospital as a precaution.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.