Newark house explosion due to foam fumes

The scene in Newark Photo: Nottinghamshire Police

The cause of a house explosion which killed two people in Newark has now been confirmed.

Experts have determined at least 18 cans of foam filler had been used in a short space of time within a confined cellar area resulting in the major explosion in Wright Street, Newark, around 5.10pm on Sunday 19 May 2013.

The bodies of Leslie Rourke, 71, and daughter-in-law Jeanette Rourke, 40, were found inside, after the mid-terraced house collapsed.

Several people were evacuated from their homes and the road was closed while the emergency services carried out a thorough investigation of the scene. A 42-year-old man sustained serious injuries and smoke inhalation, while a woman and two children were also treated for smoke inhalation.

At the inquest into the deaths of Leslie and Jeanette Rourke, the coroner determined that their deaths were accidental.

Leslie Rourke Credit: Nottinghamshire Police
Jeanette Rourke Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

This was clearly a tragic accident which resulted in two people losing their lives. The blast was caused by a build-up of fumes from foam filler advised to only be used in a well ventilated space.

The devastation caused in terms of both the loss to the Rourke family and also to the local people of Newark is indescribable. Our thoughts go out to Leslie and Jeanette’s family and friends and all those who knew them.

– Supt Mike Manley, from Nottinghamshire Police

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service wishes to extent sincere condolences to the Rourke family following the events of 19 May.

The service has worked closely with our partners as part of a multi-agency approach to the investigation into events surrounding the deaths of two family members and the gathering of information leading up to the inquest. We hope that the information and outcomes provided today will bring some closure to the immediate family and relatives and to the wider community in Newark.

– Group Manager Bryn Coleman, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue

Speaking after the inquest, the family said:

The family is relieved that this is all over and are pleased with the verdict. We would like to thank the emergency services for their assistance in this matter, especially the QMC for Nick’s recovery.

We would also like to thank the committee formed after the disaster for their support to everyone affected by this unbelievable tragedy. Nick would also like to thank the kind and brave people who helped him out of the rubble. Both Les and Jeanette are missed daily by us all and we will never forget them.

The family requests that their privacy be respected and are left to properly grieve for their huge loss.

– Rourke family
The foam filler had been used in the cellar Credit: Nottinghamshire Police