Newark death explosion caused by DIY work, inquest hears

Wright Street, Newark
Image caption The explosion in Wright Street, Newark, caused the Rourkes' home to collapse

Two people were killed when fumes from DIY work built up and caused an explosion, an inquest has heard.

Leslie Rourke, 71, is thought to have used at least 12 cans of inflammable foam to treat damp in a confined cellar at a home in Newark, Nottinghamshire.

The fumes were ignited by either a cellar light or freezer motor, killing Mr Rourke and his daughter-in-law Jeanette Rourke, 40, on 19 May.

A coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

'Not a clue'

The victims' family said in a statement after the inquest: "Both Les and Jeanette are missed daily by us all and we will never forget them.

"The family is relieved that this is all over and are pleased with the verdict."

Image caption The explosion killed Leslie and Jeanette Rourke

Nicholas Rourke, son of Mr Rourke and husband of Mrs Rourke, was injured in the explosion and pulled out by rescuers.

Giving evidence at the inquest in Nottingham, he said the expandable foam was labelled inflammable but not explosive.

They had bought 18 cans of it to fill up the coal chute in the cellar to get rid of damp, he said.

Mr Rourke said the cellar door and other windows in the house had been left open to provide ventilation while his father did the work.

He said that he "did not have a clue" what had happened in the moments after the blast, but did remember being carried across the street by people who pulled him out of the rubble.

He was treated at hospital for a broken chin and facial cuts.

A woman and two children were also treated for smoke inhalation, and several people had to move because their homes were damaged.

The statement from the victims' family added: "We would also like to thank the committee formed after the disaster for their support to everyone affected by this unbelievable tragedy.

"Nick would also like to thank the kind and brave people who helped him out of the rubble."

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