Bedford fire: Woman, 43, who died after explosion at block of flats is named by police

A woman who died following an explosion and fire in a block of flats in Bedford has been named as Reena James.
Reena James died following an explosion and fire in Bedford.

A woman who died following a suspected gas explosion and fire in a block of flats has been named by police.

Reena James, 43, is believed to be the only person who has died as a result of the incident in Redwood Grove, Bedford earlier this month.

Ms James lived in the block of the flats where the explosion happened just after 9am on Monday, 4 July.

The explosion ripped through the three-storey block, prompting the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to declare a major incident as fire gutted the roof of the building.

Two people were taken to hospital with serious injuries and a firefighter was also admitted with smoke inhalation after the gas explosion.

It has been confirmed there was no mains gas supply into the building.

The building at Redwood Grove has been gutted by fire. Credit: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue

Chief Superintendent John Murphy, from Bedfordshire Police, said: “This must be an awful time for all of Reena’s loved ones and our thoughts are with them at such a difficult and distressing time."

“We understand there is a lot of rumour and speculation regarding the cause of the explosion and fire at Redwood Grove last week.

“Due to the complexity of the scene and how difficult it will be to physically get investigators into the building, we know this will be a long and protracted investigation."

The explosion ripped through the three-storey building in Redwood Grove. Credit: ITV News Anglia

According to Bedfordshire Police, some limited demolition work on the affected block of flats is due to start this week.

The aim is to make the environment safe so investigators can start to understand what happened.

One resident described how he fled his flat with just the clothes on his back after a gas explosion in the neighbouring block.