A resident of Dulwich Road in Kingstanding has opened up on the impact that last Sunday’s tragic house explosion has had on his mental health and the local community.
Mark Pearman spoke to BirminghamWorld on Sunday (3 July) as the community of Kingstanding came together to pay tribute to their neighbour who lost her life in the gas explosion.
Grandmother Doreen Rees-Bibb died in the blast on Dulwich Road, while her partner and the owner of the house David Murphy was taken to hospital in a critical condition.
The cause of the fatal explosion was determined to have most likely been 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.
‘I’ve been told I’ve got PTSD’
Neighbour Mark Pearman was one of a number of people who went to help at the site of the explosion. He opened up on the impact last Sunday’s events have had on him.
He said: “It was the biggest bang I’ve ever heard in my life. My body shook, my ears shook - I jumped out of my seat. My missus is screaming at me. The whole house is shaking. There’s dust everywhere - we found ourselves out the back of the destroyed property.
“There were a couple of other lads out there before and they said ‘come on we need to start a chain gang there’s somebody under there’. And that’s what we did - I helped with the chain gang for about a minute.”
“At that point I smelled smoke, the flames started up in the middle of the pile of rubble. I said ‘there’s gas’ to everybody, we need to back off, this could go again.”
“It’s still settling in now. I’ve just signed up with the Birmingham Healthy Minds. I’ve been told I’ve got PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Even the dog’s been affected. You don’t think about the animals, but my dog’s ears have been blasted off. He’s jumping at every little thing now, and so am I.”
Community comes together
Families and friends also joined the vigil to support each other through the tragedy as people have lost their homes and support is still needed to help them to deal with the shock and devastation.
Flowers have been placed at the scene in memory of Doreen. Piles of rubble remain outside the house where the blast came from and windows and doors are left hanging.
Earlier in the day the Kingstanding community also came together for a family event called ‘We Live As One’. The free event paid tribute to Dea-John Reid who was stabbed to death aged 14. It was held at the Kingstanding Inn, and included food, live entertainment and activities for children.
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