Birmingham gas explosion: Community to hold candlelight vigil for victim

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The Kingstanding community are hosting donation drives to help those affected by the explosion.

The Kingstanding community is coming together to honour the victim of the tragic gas explosion last Sunday by holding a candlelight vigil a week after the tragedy.

The victim has been named locally as 79-year-old grandmother Doreen Rees-Bibb. She was in the house on Dulwich Road which collapsed in the blast, most likely caused by an accidental ignition of a large escape of gas from a joint in the pipework - according to firefighters.

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A man remained in a critical condition in hospital today (Friday, July 1). He was pulled from the debris by heroic locals. Four other people were treated for minor injuries at the scene. One property was reduced to rubble in the blast, while the homes either side were left shattered with windows and doors blown out. Eight homes are uninhabitable: either too badly damaged or without gas.

mergency services at the scene in Dulwich Road, Kingstandingmergency services at the scene in Dulwich Road, Kingstanding
mergency services at the scene in Dulwich Road, Kingstanding | PA

Donations have poured in from well-wishers and the vigil will be held at 7pm on Sunday (July 3). A family fun day, called We Live As One, is also scheduled to take place the same day which organisers said would now be a way of saying thank you to people. The free event, being held at the Kingstanding Inn, will include food, live entertainment and activities for children.

Community activist Bishop Desmond Jaddoo told BBC Radio WM: “We have to give credit where credit is due, everyone has pulled together and we have to continue the community spirit.

“For the children that have been affected, we are trying to give them extra assistance.”

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He added: “There has been an overwhelming response to a call for donations.”

Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton and Cllr Rick Payne are among those who have expressed their sympathy with the community following the blast, posting about their support for the community on Twitter.

More than two dozen houses had to be evacuated after the incident.

 The community is also fundraising for those affected by the explosion on Dulwich Road.

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 A donation drive is being hosted by a local pub where baby supplies, blankets, and other useful items can be dropped off.

One man offered to house those affected in some empty offices. However, the West Midlands Police informed him that the “Birmingham City Council have well-rehearsed plans in place to quickly organise emergency accommodation for large numbers of people in the event of a major emergency. Experience tells us that most people want to stay with family and friends as they get over the initial shock.”

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