Police are treating a gas explosion at Caversfield, near Bicester, in which a man was seriously injured today, as suspicious.

Andrew Rushton, 36, was taken from his home in Manzel Road to Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, with facial burns. His wife Sue, 34, and their ten-year-old son Andrew both suffered burns, but were not thought to be seriously injured.

All the family got out. Teenagers Sarah and Vicky, and toddler Sophie, aged two-and-a-half, were taken in by neighbours. Another daughter, Ruth, was not living at home.

Fire crews tackled the flames and helped to evacuate six families. Gas engineers from Transco were called in.

Neighbour Edith Hanson, said: "We were woken by our pet dog barking. My husband, Joseph, went to investigate and he saw Mr Rushton laying injured on his front path."

Another neighbour, Tracy Bourton, added: "No-one heard the explosion, only screaming."

Police said they were holding a joint investigation with Transco and the fire service.