Firefighters battling a blaze, which broke out after a gas canister started to leak, said they were just minutes away from it developing into an explosion which could have devastated everything within 200 yards.
Paul and Rebecca Kendrick were having a batch of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) delivered to their Rothes home yesterday when it started to pour out onto the ground.
The substance quickly caught light and flames began to engulf the canisters of gas – which luckily remained intact.
Two LPG delivery men fled from the scene on the A941 Elgin road to escape a cloud of vapour and alerted the Kendricks just moments before a loud blast sent cracks up the wall of the house.
Last night the couple said they felt they had a lucky escape as the quick actions of the emergency services meant the blaze was stopped from developing further.
The force of the explosion also destroyed the couple’s greenhouse and wall as flames spread across their driveway.
And neighbours explained they feared the worst after hearing the bang that “shook the village”.
Mr Kendrick said: “Fortunately, nobody was hurt. It could have been worse though. If one of that tanks had exploded then it would have taken the gable-end of the building off and caused serious injury.
“There was obviously still a lot of force. It blew the glass in the windows and cracked the bays.
“It’s absolutely devastating. It’s just very fortunate that nobody was caught in the blast.”
As delivery men warned Mr Kendrick’s wife, Rebecca, about the unfolding emergency in her front garden, she hastily shut the door just seconds before the gas ignited.
Last night, recovery crews lifted away the fire-damaged delivery truck, which was carrying two further tanks as well as the old and replacement one for the home.
Police closed the A941 between Rothes and Fogwatt shortly before 9am while two fire engines were at the scene to control the flames.
Neighbours reported hearing a loud bang followed by several smaller explosions yesterday morning.
Ian Innes, who lives on nearby North Street, said: “We had no idea what it was. The vibration shook everything in the house.
“From the noise, we actually thought it was worse than what it was. These things happen so suddenly, nobody ever expects them to happen.”
Another neighbour added: “It shook the village but these kind of things happen. The important thing was it was a safe accident and nobody got hurt.”
Incident commander, watch manager Stephen Laing, explained that crews immediately became aware there had been a “substantial explosion”.
Water was sprayed over the gas tanks to cool them down before the flames caused them to burst.
Mr Laing said: “It emerged that, during the process of decanting LPG from an old gas tank into a replacement one, a valve had somehow come loose.
“The operatives did the right thing by getting out of the vapour cloud before the explosion, which caused substantial damage.
“The fire was contained to about a 20-metre radius. If one of the tanks exploded, then you could have been looking at a 100 to 200-metre radius. It’s very fortunate but you make your own luck – we got here very quickly and cooled them down.”
A fire spokeswoman added: “An ambulance was called. One of the workmen was treated for shock.”