Birmingham: Man suffers 'life-threatening' injuries after house destroyed in suspected gas explosion

·3 min read

Residents have described how they clambered past flaming debris and rubble to pull an injured man alive from the ruins of a house in Birmingham after a suspected gas blast.

The man suffered "very significant injuries" and is in a "life-threatening condition" following the explosion in the Kingstanding area of the city, West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMFS) said.

A mid-terraced house was destroyed and several others were significantly damaged as well as nearby cars after the blast at around 8.30pm last night.

One man, who declined to give his name, told the PA news agency: "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.

"There was a guy in the back (of the house), we could hear the guy screaming, but he was trapped up against the fridge in the kitchen.

"The dust from the loft insulation was burning around us.

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

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

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

Another local resident was said to have "put his own life at risk" by running into the burning house to rescue the injured man, according to his cousin.

'He's a hero'

@reecew95 wrote on Twitter: "What happened in Kingstanding tonight is devastating… my cousin saved a life! He's a hero. I'm so proud of him."

Four other men suffered minor injuries and were assessed by ambulance crews for minor conditions, but have since been discharged at the scene.

Video footage showed huge flames, damaged properties and a large pile of debris from the mid-terraced house.

Emergency services said evacuations were taking place and people have been urged to avoid the area, with Dulwich Road and surrounding roads closed.

They said the cause of the fire is not yet known.

'A challenging scene'

WMFS area commander Steve Ball, speaking at the scene on Sunday, said: "Around 8.30pm this evening we were called to a gas explosion in a house.

"On arrival, it was quite a challenging scene, where one house had been completely destroyed, and three neighbouring properties had also been quite badly affected.

"One man had already been rescued, prior to our arrival, and he's been taken care of by West Midlands Ambulance Service.

"He's got life-threatening injuries and he's gone to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham)."

The ambulance service said it was working with police, Cadent Gas and the National Grid to manage the incident.

Six fire crews, three ambulances, five paramedic officers and a National Inter-Agency Liaison officer were among the resources sent to the scene, WMFS said.

Rick Payne, a city councillor for the ward, heard a "massive explosion" while watching television shortly after 8.30pm, and walked across to Dulwich Road to see what had happened.

He said: "I recognised that as probably most likely to be a gas explosion.

"The house itself, where the explosion occurred, has physically been destroyed."

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