Birmingham explosion: Woman dies following blast at a home in Kingstanding
A gas explosion destroyed one house on Dulwich Road and caused severe damage to other properties, and parked cars
A woman has died following an explosion at a house in Birmingham last night.
The wounded man remains in a "life-threatening" condition after the blast, and as yet there is no update on his condition. .
West Midlands Police said that, on arrival to Dulwich road in Kingstanding, they found one house had been destroyed, as well as several others significantly damaged. Nearby cars had also been affected.
West Midlands Ambulance Service said people at the scene rescued a man from the destroyed house but he had "very significant injuries" and was taken to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Four other men suffered minor injuries and were discharged by paramedics.
Other residents in the area have been donating clothes, toiletries and children's toys to show their support for the families affected and the community.
Donations are being handed in at the Kingstanding Inn in Birmingham.
Free warm meals are also being dished out at the pub to the families not able to cook.
Speaking from the site, ITV Good Morning Britain reporter Katy Rickitt said "what you're seeing there is the side of one damaged house. Now there should be another house on our side of it - but that's been completely flattened."
Incident Commander says it was 'clear a gas explosion had taken place'
Speaking to reporters, West Midlands Fire Service Incident Commander Martin Ward-White said that they had "received calls last night, just after half eight."
"On arrival it was clear a gas explosion had taken place. There was one male casualty who was taken to hospital immediately....we can confirm that sadly, one female has lost her life at this incident."
Residents have said how they clambered past flaming debris, through dust and rubble, shortly after the blast and pulled out an injured man alive from the ruins of the house.
One man, who declined to give his name, said: "Everyone was watching, the house was on fire, nobody was going in, so we could see a way in - so we went in the house, me and about a dozen others".
He said the dust from the loft insulation burned around them as they rescued a man from the back of the house.
One of the people who “put [their] own life at risk” by running into the burning house to save someone inside, according to their cousin on social media. In a post, they called their relative a "hero".
A spokesperson from Cadent Gas said its personnel were at the site.
"Our teams are on-site at the incident in Kingstanding, assisting the multi-agency response as the gas emergency service for the West Midlands".
"It's too early to speculate on the cause. Our thoughts are with everyone impacted".
"If ever anyone smells gas, nearby or anywhere, it is important to act immediately and ring the national gas emergency service on 0800 111 999."
Images have been circulating on Twitter also showing aerial shots of flames billowing into the sky.
Emergency services say the cause of the fire is not yet known and have urged people to avoid the area, with Dulwich Road and surrounding roads closed.
When the police were asked about reports the house had been up for sale and that the boiler had needed replacing, Mr Shapland said: “That may form part of the investigation.“As I say, we’ve got colleagues and professionals who will be looking at all of the different circumstances.”Chief Inspector Kelly Monaghan, of West Midlands Police, said the force was supporting the fire brigade’s investigation and there were no suspicious circumstances “at this stage”
West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) said West Midlands Police, West Midlands Ambulance Service, Cadent Gas and the National Grid are all working to manage the incident.
Six fire crews, three ambulances, five paramedic officers and a National Inter-Agency Liaison officer are among the resources that have been sent to the scene.
In a statement on its website WMFS said: "The explosion, the cause of which is unknown at this time, has destroyed one property and caused damage to other properties and vehicles nearby."
The statement continued: "The number of casualties or injuries is not confirmed at this time. We are working hard with colleagues from West Midlands Police, West Midlands Ambulance, Cadent Gas and National Grid to manage this incident."
West Midlands Ambulance Service said three ambulances, five paramedic officers, the MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic, WM care team (a BASICS-affiliated charity providing prehospital care), a hazardous area response team and a NILO (National Inter-Agency Liaison Officer) had been sent to Kingstanding.
Rick Payne, a city councillor for the ward, heard a "massive explosion" while watching television shortly after 8.30pm, and walked across to Dulwich Road to see what had happened.
He said: "I recognised that as probably most likely to be a gas explosion"
"The police are just saying that there's quite a lot of houses damaged as a result - probably up to five or six houses.
"The house itself, where the explosion occurred, has physically been destroyed. Houses either side have, partially. Then the houses further along the street have been damaged collaterally from the blast."
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Speaking at the scene on Sunday, WMFS area commander Steve Ball said: "Around 8.30pm this evening we were called to a gas explosion in a house.
"On arrival, it was quite a challenging scene, where one house had been completely destroyed, and three neighbouring properties had also been quite badly affected.
"One man had already been rescued, prior to our arrival, and he's been taken care of by West Midlands Ambulance Service.
"He's got life-threatening injuries and he's gone to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham).
"On scene at the moment we've got six appliances, we've got our technical rescue teams and we've also got our fire dog here."
It's now come to light that the house was being advertised for sale with a boiler that needed repairing or replacing. The detail was contained in an online listing for the property in Dulwich Road.