Hero neighbours rescue trapped man after explosion destroys house in Birmingham

26 June 2022, 21:53 | Updated: 27 June 2022, 05:45

A man is fighting for his life after an explosion in Birmingham
A man is fighting for his life after an explosion in Birmingham. Picture: @joshuahfisher/West Midlands Fire Service

By Will Taylor

Heroic neighbours clambered past flaming debris to pull an injured man alive after a house was destroyed in an explosion in Birmingham.

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A man is fighting for his life after a suspected gas explosion on a residential street in Kingstanding, northern Birmingham.

He was taken out of the house by people at the scene but has suffered "very serious injuries", the ambulance service said.

One man, who declined to give his name, said he was among a dozen others who went inside the house to rescue the injured man.

Speaking from the scene, he said he could hear a guy "screaming" but he was trapped up against the fridge in the kitchen.

"We managed to get to him, and pull him out - I still have his blood on my jeans," he recalled.

"We got him out, he ended up coming out on a mattress.

"But he was saying there was a woman in the house."

"His clothes had been blown off, you couldn't even see him, he was covered in blood," added the man.

He said neighbours "dug" the man out of the rubble, breaking water pipes to try to douse their own clothes and protect themselves from the flames.

Standing at the police cordon, watching the emergency services working under powerful spotlights amid the devastation, the resident added: "There's nothing left of that house at all.

"We went through the house - and that house is gone."

West Midlands Fire Service said the incident, believed to be a gas explosion, completely destroyed one house and significantly damaged three neighbouring properties.

An explosion completely destroyed a house in Kingstanding in north Birmingham.
An explosion completely destroyed a house in Kingstanding in north Birmingham. Picture: West Midlands Fire Service

One bystander, Joe, said a car was blown off the road when the blast went off.

Jane heard a "massive bang" she compared to a "sonic boom" and thought something had hit her house.

A resident told Birmingham Live: "I had just gone into the toilet downstairs and shut the door. The explosion happened as I shut the door.

"Living rooms windows have shattered. There was glass everywhere.

"The house shook and I fell on the floor, I thought it was an earthquake. I heard a man shout help."

Social media users posted images of a house engulfed in flames.

Other buildings and cars have been damaged in the blast, but the cause of it is unknown, police said.

Onlookers told LBC "all the house is just gone" and heard somebody say they "felt the ground shake".

A spokesman said the man was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, while four others were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: "A man was helped from the property by people at the scene but had suffered very serious injuries.

An explosion completely destroyed a house in Kingstanding in north Birmingham.
An explosion completely destroyed a house in Kingstanding in north Birmingham. Picture: West Midlands Fire Service

"After assessment and treatment at the scene, he was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham with the MERIT team travelling with the ambulance.

"His condition on arrival at hospital was described as life-threatening.

"Four further men have been assessed by ambulance crews for minor conditions but have been discharged at the scene.

"Members of the Hazardous Area Response Team continue to work with specialist firefighters at the scene."

A crowd was still gathered, many people in their nightwear, at the scene late on Monday.

An explosion completely destroyed a house in Kingstanding in north Birmingham.
An explosion completely destroyed a house in Kingstanding in north Birmingham. Picture: West Midlands Fire Service

West Midlands Police said evacuations were under way and anyone being taken from the area will be told where to go.

"People in the area must immediately follow the instructions of first responders," the force said.

"Dulwich Road and surround roads are closed and will be for a very long time. Please help us by avoiding the area."

The blast happened in the Kingstanding area of Birmingham, with officers being called out at 8.38pm on Sunday.

The explosion was reportedly heard from half a mile away.

Emergency services and utility firms were at the scene
Emergency services and utility firms were at the scene. Picture: LBC

All emergency services rushed to the scene, and utility companies were also present.

Six fire crews, three ambulances, five paramedic officers and a National Inter-Agency Liaison officer were on site.

"Please think of those involved and their loved ones and do not post images online," police said.

"We will keep you updated regularly as soon as we have hard facts."

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Councillor Sharon Thompson described the explosion as "horrific".

She thanked the emergency services, the council and the community for their response.