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NSW: Youth charged after gas explosion

06 Jan 2009 4:59 PM

SYDNEY, Jan 6 AAP - A 14-year-old boy has been charged after a gas explosion damaged several buildings in a town in NSW's Hunter Valley.

Police believe a number of garbage bins were set alight at the rear of a community centre in Port Stephens St, Raymond Terrace, about 10pm (AEDT) on Saturday.

"The fire ignited an adjacent 150kg LPG cylinder, resulting in an explosion that caused extensive damage to the two-storey building and blew out windows in a telephone exchange next door," police said in a statement on Tuesday.

"A number of other buildings were damaged in the explosion as debris from the blast was strewn 200 metres along the street."

The gas bottle struck the brick wall of a building 100 metres away, police said.

Officers questioned six 14-year-old boys after the explosion.

A 14-year-old Raymond Terrace youth was charged on Tuesday with intentionally destroying property by fire and recklessly destroying property by fire.

He was granted conditional bail and will appear at Raymond Terrace Children's Court on January 21.