A MAN was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation after an explosion and fire at the garage of his home in Canford Heath.

Hotel chef Richard Howard, 50, was working on his Honda 650cc motorcycle in Mapperton Close when the incident took place late yesterday afternoon.

His wife Carole said: “We had just bought a gas fire with a bottle and believe there was a build-up. My husband was working on his bike in there. He told me all he knew was that there were flames on the floor.”

Steve Gossling, who lives nearby, said: “I came out straight away. A fireball came flying out of the garage.”

Shannon Tanner said: “We heard bangs and thought someone was trying to break in. We were told to shut all the windows. It was scary.”

Poole Grammar School student Josh Samways, who lives nearby, went to take pictures as fire crews fought the blaze. “We saw a thick black cloud of smoke,” he said.

Four fire engines attended and crews stayed there damping down after the flames had been put out. Police cordoned off the road. Mr Howard was given oxygen by ambulance crew and was taken to hospital to be checked over.