Kingstanding community hold a vigil in memory of fatal gas explosion victim

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Birmingham MP Paulette Hamilton joins the vigil in Dulwich Road held a week on from the blast

The community of Kingstanding came together this evening (Sunday, July 3) 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, last Sunday evening, while her partner and the owner of the house David Murphy was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

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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.

Kingstanding community hold a vigil a week on from the fatal gas explosion Kingstanding community hold a vigil a week on from the fatal gas explosion
Kingstanding community hold a vigil a week on from the fatal gas explosion

Families and friends 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.

Kingstanding community hold vigil a week on from the fatal gas explosion on Dulwich Road in BirminghamKingstanding community hold vigil a week on from the fatal gas explosion on Dulwich Road in Birmingham
Kingstanding community hold vigil a week on from the fatal gas explosion on Dulwich Road in Birmingham

Birmingham MP Paulette Hamilton joined the vigil held near the site of the explosion on Dulwich Road.

She told BirminghamWorld: “People felt they needed to come together to show how much they cared. They have been phenomenal in showing their support for one another at a time of crisis.

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“This is a time of sadness. A lady has died, a man is still critical in hospital and people have lost their homes.

“It will take some time for us to get back to some kind of normality. But the community is resilient and we are looking out for one another.”

Flowers left in memory of Birmingham gas explosion victim grandmother Doreen Rees-Bibb on Dulwich Road, KingstandingFlowers left in memory of Birmingham gas explosion victim grandmother Doreen Rees-Bibb on Dulwich Road, Kingstanding
Flowers left in memory of Birmingham gas explosion victim grandmother Doreen Rees-Bibb on Dulwich Road, Kingstanding

Dulwich Road resident Mark Pearman told how he is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder follwing the blast. He told BirminghamWorld how he heard a huge blast on the night of the explosion and rushed out to help rescue the man and woman in the house where it took place.

“I nearly jumped out of my skin. My Mrs nearly fell out of her chair. It was so loud - the loudest noise I’ve ever heard. I’ve been told I’ve got PTSD. Even my dog is affected. He’s jumping at every little thing, and so am I.”

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Grandmother Louby Lane has revealed how she’s been left homeless after her property was declared unsafe following the blast.

The 60 year-old was sat in her living room when the explosion tore through the neighbouring terraced house. She is currently staying in a room above the Kingstanding Inn and said: “The explosion itself was insane. I just came out the kitchen and sat on the settee and I heard a funny noise.

“I don’t know how to describe it, it was weird. There was this big gush that came rushing through and then a huge bang which shook the house.

“The windows were blown off and then I could hear people screaming, the grandkids were upstairs shouting me. Everybody started running into the house next door. There were so many people in the street, it felt like thousands.

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West Midlands firefighters and officers also joined the community to pay their respects. Teams battled the blaze and helped to investigate the cause in the aftermath of the explosion. They said: “Our thoughts remain with everyone affected by the incident.”

 Doreen Rees-Bibb Doreen Rees-Bibb
Doreen Rees-Bibb

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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