Birmingham explosion: Woman found dead and man seriously hurt

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Media caption,

Watch: Drone captures aftermath of explosion, showing completely destroyed house

A woman has been found dead at the scene of a major gas explosion that destroyed a house in Birmingham and damaged others.

A man also suffered life-threatening injuries in the blast in Dulwich Road, Kingstanding, on Sunday evening.

Six other homes were damaged and properties were evacuated.

Neighbours were given a temporary home in a pub, including a man who said "we have nothing" apart from "clothes on our backs".

A man rescued from the house by people at the scene had suffered "very serious" injuries, the ambulance service said.

He remained in a "critical" condition in hospital, emergency services said on Monday.

Four other men suffered minor injuries, following the blast just after 20:30 BST, but were discharged by paramedics.

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Investigations at the scene are continuing

West Midlands Fire Service said it was "very sad to confirm that a woman has been found dead at the scene".

Martin Ward-White, incident commander, said the woman who died was found "relatively quickly within the property that exploded".

Footage on social media showed flames engulfing the terraced red brick house.

"The next steps for the fire service and gas board will be to start the investigation into what caused this explosion," Mr Ward-White said. "We know it is gas but what actually caused that gas explosion?"

The service said it could be days before the exact cause of the blast was known.

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Footage on social media shows flames, damage and debris from the terraced house in Kingstanding

Residents said they had clambered past flaming debris and through rubble to reach the man.

Ch Insp Kelly Monaghan, from West Midlands Police, said: "There [were]... some really heroic actions from members of the community last night."

"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," a man, who did not want to be named, told the PA news agency.

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Kiera Parkinson's boyfriend Callum Attwood was among those who rushed inside and she said the day had been "a complete tragedy".

"But we are so proud of every single person that risked their lives to go in there and help somebody else," she added.

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Watch: Fire chief thanks community after "sad and tragic" incident

A neighbour who lives six doors away from the explosion said he heard a loud bang and came out to see efforts to help.

"[They] managed to pull somebody out of the rubble but as he was getting pulled out he was saying there was somebody left inside but they wasn't able to help any further as the flames started to get bigger and bigger," he said.

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Kiera Parkinson said the explosion had been "a complete tragedy"

Kashif Mahmood was driving past with his family when the house exploded and the shockwave smashed into his car.

"All the airbags, windows, roof were broken," he said.

"It was really shocking and it was really scary. We are all OK but my kids are still in shock."

At the scene

Phil Mackie, BBC Midlands correspondent

It is a scene of devastation today. The blast destroyed one house and has caused severe damage to several others.

Debris is strewn across the street and one car which was upended has now been moved. 

Fire investigators, working alongside specialists from the gas company, have begun sifting through the wreckage as they try to determine what caused the explosion. 

Some residents who were evacuated last night have been allowed to return to their homes this morning to collect any essentials but have been told they may not be allowed to stay in their homes again tonight.

Others simply can't access their properties because the damage is so extensive.

Ch Insp Monaghan said there were no suspicious circumstances "at this stage".

Asked about reports the house had been up for sale and that the boiler had needed replacing, fire service area commander Alex Shapland stated: "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."

Mr Shapland said a multi-agency inquiry was now under way and added: "We have searched the properties we can get into."

Image caption,
Kashif Mahmood was driving past the house when it exploded and said it was "really scary"

Twenty-one people were evacuated and had gone to stay at other houses and hotels provided by the city council.

Emma Core, assistant manager at the nearby Kingstanding Inn, said the council asked the pub to take in people who had been evacuated.

"They were all feeling sad and low, worrying about their belongings. Some people came, they had not got shoes, they only had slippers on their feet," she said.

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Lami Charlery said his family only has the "clothes on our backs" after having to leave their home

Lami Charlery, who was among neighbours given a temporary home in the pub, said he lives next door to the house that was destroyed and added: "If I wasn't in the bathroom, I wouldn't have survived."

He stated: "I didn't actually know what happened because I fell down on my head.

"The bathroom was OK. It was only when I came out of the bathroom I saw the ceiling was falling down and everything was falling down with it." 

Mr Charlery said his house "is such a goner".

"There is nothing we can do so we have nothing," he said.

"The only thing is clothes on our backs. All the money is in the house, my car is at the house, everything."

Nearby Warren Farm Primary School was closed on Monday after the fire service said its windows were damaged.

Cadent, the gas emergency service for the West Midlands, said its teams were on site as part of the multi-agency response and added its thoughts were with those affected.

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Several other homes near the site of the explosion suffered significant damage, said police

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