Swansea Council worker praised for bravery after being first on scene after explosion

Keith Morris said he went into "autopilot" as he entered the destroyed house Credit: Cllr Rob Stewart

A council worker who rescued a woman from her destroyed home after Monday's explosion in Swansea has been praised for his bravery after being the first on the scene.

Keith Morris fought his way through thick dust and debris to reach Claire Bennett, who was trapped. He then guided her to safety.

The suspected gas explosion on Clydach Road in Morriston, Swansea, killed Brian Davies, 68, and hospitalised three others, including Clare Bennett and her 14-year-old son Ethan.

Mr Morris said: "I helped her out but she was shouting 'my son is upstairs' but when I looked up there was no upstairs left."

He returned to the wreckage of the house but the boy had fortunately been rescued by other people.

People look at the impact of the explosion, which happened on Monday morning Credit: Media Wales

Mr Morris then returned for a third time to help the family's dog, alongside other people who had arrived at the scene.

He said: "I went back in because she had said about the puppy Alsatian and by this time there was definitely one person with me, possibly another.

"We were chucking stuff out of the way and I heard a voice saying 'there he is, he is in a cage'.

"The cage was buried so I forced it open and he pulled the dog out."

Mr Morris, who has worked for Swansea Council for 27 years, was driving a council van a few hundred yards from the blast when he felt a "mighty explosion" and the road ahead was blocked by debris.

Talking about the experience, he said: "I pulled up outside and jumped out of my vehicle and I could hear shouting and screaming from inside."

He added: "When I first went into the house I was on autopilot. I did not know what I would find. I feel so sorry for them because they have been left with nothing - their house was destroyed.

"At that time I thought that their house was the end of the terrace, but I was told later that there was a neighbouring one but that had just gone."

A family member has since contacted Mr Morris to thank him for his bravery as the first on the scene.

Mr Morris said there was "no upstairs left" in the house Credit: Media Wales

Many residents still cannot return to their homes as work is carried out to the make the gas main safe.

Police said an investigation is underway to establish the cause of the explosion.

Wales and West Utilities, who maintain the gas network, said they are still at the scene to make sure the area is safe and are “carrying out comprehensive checks in the local area to rule out any damage to our network as a result of the explosion”.

Chief operating officer, Rob Long, said: “As the gas emergency service, it is our role to make sure the area is safe and support the investigation.

“The cause of the explosion is not yet known, and we are remaining at the scene to support the emergency services.

“Due to the extensive nature of the explosion, we are also carrying out comprehensive checks in the local area to rule out any damage to our network as a result of the explosion. These investigations are rigorous and ongoing."

He added: “We would like to reassure the local community that every safety precaution is being taken."

Police have said an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the explosion Credit: Media Wales

Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart said: "This was a devastating incident and my thoughts remain with all those affected.

"Since Monday's tragedy I have been hearing of stories of immense bravery from people who were at the scene at the time and I'd like to thank Keith along with everyone else, including the emergency services, who reacted so quickly and bravely.

"As a council we have done everything we can to support those affected and will continue to do so for as long as is needed."

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