Melbourne gas blast kills man, damages houses 300m away

The remains of a work van are strewn across Stadium Circuit in Mulgrave, Melbourne. Photo / AAP
The remains of a work van are strewn across Stadium Circuit in Mulgrave, Melbourne. Photo / AAP

A tradesman has died after his van exploded in a Melbourne street, sending debris hundreds of metres and damaging up to 20 homes.

The refrigeration mechanic, 25, was about to leave for work when a leaking gas cylinder in the back of his van ignited.

The explosion threw him about 5m from his van, with debris shattering windows and damaging the roofs of nearby homes.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade Commander Andrew O'Connell said the explosion was caused by a leak from one of the gas cylinders kept in the rear of the van.

"What caused it to explode is still under investigation, but it appears a gas cylinder of some description leaked into the rear compartment of the vehicle and it ignited when the gentleman has gone off to work," he told ABC radio.

"When the vehicle has exploded, debris has been thrown probably about 300m away from the site of the explosion and ... debris appears to have gone through people's front windows or pierced their roofing."

Residents of the street said they felt their homes shake after the explosion, which was heard by people in neighbouring suburbs.

The blast occurred in Stadium Circuit, in the housing development at the former Waverley Park football ground.

The man's home was damaged, with windows smashed, part of the garden ripped up, shrubs blown out of the ground and debris from the vehicle scattered across the driveway.

Paramedics said the man suffered extensive injuries.

- AAP

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