Steve Allen 4am - 7am
Fatal Birmingham house explosion 'likely caused by a gas leak', investigation finds
1 July 2022, 08:10 | Updated: 1 July 2022, 08:12
A gas explosion which destroyed a terraced house in Birmingham was likely caused by an accidental gas leak in the home's pipework, an investigation has found.
Listen to this article
The cause of the fatal blast in Dulwich Road, Birmingham, on Sunday night, was determined as an "accidental and inadvertent ignition of a large escape of gas from a joint in the pipework", police, fire and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) officials said in a statement.
It comes amid rumours the property's boiler had needed replacing before the blast. The West Midlands Fire Service earlier said the claims would "form part of the investigation".
The woman who died is understood to be 79-year-old grandmother Doreen Rees-Bibb, although formal identification has still to be completed.
A critically injured man, identified by local media as David Murphy, was dug out of the burning rubble of the home by about a dozen members of the public, whose heroic and quick-thinking actions were praised by the emergency services.
He remained in a critical but stable condition in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham on Thursday.
In a statement, the HSE, West Midlands Fire Service and West Midlands Police said demolition work had allowed investigators "to safely access and test sections of the property's internal gas piping".
The HSE is continuing investigations as to whether any work-related activities contributed towards the incident.
The blast took place around 8:30pm on Sunday and was reportedly heard from half a mile away.
More than 20 people were evacuated nearby and a handful were treated at the scene for minor wounds.