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Newark explosion: build-up of fumes from foam filler to blame

The house on Wright Street, Newark in May
Officers at the scene in May 2013

An inquest has heard how a build-up of fumes from foam filler caused an explosion which killed a father and daughter in Newark earlier this year.

The bodies of 71-year-old Leslie Rourke and his daughter-in-law Jeanette Rourke, 40, were found inside the terraced house on Wright Street after it collapsed in May.

A coroner today ruled their deaths were accidental, after hearing that experts had determined at least 18 cans of foam filler had been used in a short space of time within a confined cellar area - and it should only be used in a well ventilated space.

Supt Mike Manley, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: “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.”

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Gas supply ruled out as cause of Newark house blast

The blast completely destroyed a house in the terrace in Newark Credit: PA

An investigation into the cause of the explosion at a house in Newark in Nottinghamshire has today ruled out the domestic gas supply.

Fire crews on the scene of the explosion Credit: PA

Police and fire crews will continue to establish what caused the explosion, which resulted in the death of Jeanette Rourke and Leslie Rourke on Sunday 19 May.

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Newark street closed after gas explosion

Wright Street in Newark in Nottinghamshire is closed in both directions because police are still investigating the gas blast that took place between Hill Vue Gardens and Clay Lane/Cromwell Road.

Up to six properties are being demolished following the explosion at the weekend. Restrictions are also likely to be in place on other local roads as a result.

Source: INRIX

Picture released of Newark house blast victim

Jeanette Rourke, who was found under the rubble of the house in Newark

Police were last night investigating whether a botched job sparked the explosion which tore through a row of terraced houses in Newark.

Company director Leslie Rourke, 71, was discovered buried in rubble beneath the ground floor.

Fire crews searching the wreckage found the body of his daughter-in-law Jeanette Rourke, 40.

Mrs Rourke’s husband, Nick, 42, was taken to hospital with serious injuries after the explosion in Newark, Nottinghamshire, on Sunday.

A four-month-old girl had a miraculous escape meanwhile after being rescued from a neighbouring property along with a seven-year-old boy and another woman. All three have already been discharged from Queen’s Medical Centre.

At least 100 people were evacuated following Sunday’s explosion.

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Work continues at Newark blast site

A police cordon remains in place at the scene of a suspected gas blast in Wright Street, Newark.

Work is continuing to remove roof slates and bricks from the houses affected while forensic investigations take place.

Building Control Services from Newark and Sherwood District Council will be doing the controlled demolition of the supporting walls and the rest of the roof structure on the two neighbouring properties.

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Newark blast: Some residents return home

Residents in odd numbered properties of Wright Street have now gone back to their homes.

People from Private Street and even numbered properties in Wright Street are being asked to get ready for another night away from their homes.

Demolition and forensic work may continue to disrupt utility supplies to these properties.

Residents from affected properties should report to the Information Centre at Charles Street Methodist Church or contact the helpline on 0300 500 80 80.

National Grid will need to get into the properties to restore supply and carry out testing.

Emergency crews work to identify blast cause

Members of the emergency services will be back at the scene of an explosion in Newark today.

A man and a woman died in the blast at a house. Specialists will now try to establish what led to the explosion.

The blast ripped through the house Credit: Press Association

It has been suggested it could have been the result of DIY being carried out at the property, but police are keen to stress they are keeping an open mind.

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