Thieves stole vital equipment from a fire engine while crews responded to a fatal house explosion in Birmingham, it has emerged.
The blast happened on Dulwich Road in Kingstanding on June 26, killing 79-year-old Doreen Rees-Bibb.
While 25 firefighters from West Midlands Fire Service attended the scene to make the area safe, thieves prised open a side shutter on one vehicle to steal 'crucial' fire service equipment.
Items stolen from the fire engine included a pump, cutters, a hose and bolt cutters.
The blast completely destroyed one home and caused damage to eight neighbouring properties. Many families are now homeless after 'unsafe' houses were demolished.
The cause of the explosion was an accidental gas leak, which ignited and blasted through the building.
The theft came at a time when most of the community in Kingstanding were mobilised to support those affected.
Some brave passers-by even went inside to rescue an injured man who remains in hospital fighting for his life.
To mark one week since the blast, hundreds of members of the local community came together on Sunday to hold a vigil for Doreen Rees-Bib.
West Midlands Police has confirmed officers are investigating the theft and said they were looking at footage from the area to track down those responsible.Chief Inspector Kelly Monaghan said: “This is a despicable act during a serious incident when other members of the public were acting so heroically and selflessly.“The items stolen are essential for firefighters to act quickly and save lives when it matters most, just like we saw in Kingstanding on Sunday, June 26."
Anyone who has any information is urged to contact West Midlands Police.