Nottingham

Newark house blast: Second body found

An aerial view of what remains of the house in Wright Street, Newark
Police said a controlled demolition would be carried out later as the property was not considered safe

A woman has been found dead amid the rubble of a house where a man died in a suspected gas explosion.

The second body was found by rescuers on Monday morning at the house in Newark, Nottinghamshire.

Police said continuing searches in the rubble had "revealed" the body of a woman, which would be recovered later.

A man's body was removed from the house in Wright Street in the early hours. Four people, including two children, were treated in hospital.

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue service said a woman, a seven-year-old and a four-month-old baby were from the neighbouring property. They have since been discharged.

'Completely destroyed'

The fourth person - a man - was in the house where the explosion happened and is being treated for serious injuries and the effects of smoke inhalation.

Bryn Coleman, group manager at the fire service, said a man's body was found between the basement and ground floor of the house in the early hours.

The woman was found and pronounced dead at about 03:00 BST, he said.

"It was particularly challenging for the emergency services because we knew there was potentially an escape of gas still in the area, and a further risk of explosion at that point.

"We also had concerns, and we still have concerns at this moment in time, about the structural stability of the neighbouring properties," Mr Coleman said.

A Nottinghamshire Police spokesperson said a "controlled demolition" would be carried out later as the property was not considered safe.

About 100 people living near the site had to leave their homes overnight.

Many spent the night at the nearby Grove Leisure Centre.

A man's body was found between the basement and the ground floor of the house in the early hours
A woman was found and pronounced dead at about 03:00 BST
Neighbours helped rescue a man from the rubble after the explosion
People living nearby were told to stay in doors and keep windows closed

Supt Mike Manley, of Nottinghamshire Police, described the blast as a "distressing tragedy" and said a joint inquiry would be carried out with the fire service.

"We are supporting the families, the neighbours and others who have been displaced by this incident.

"Our priority is the recovery of the deceased person and the support of the family," he said.

Cormac Fleming, from Newark, witnessed the blast at about 17:10 BST on Sunday, and helped with the rescue effort, plucking a newborn baby from the neighbour's damaged house.

"I live just a couple of streets away and was first on the scene, with my wife and two kids. We were walking our dog and got within 8ft of the house, when it exploded right in front of us," he said.

"The sheer force of the blast knocked my son off his bike. I rang 999 straight away.

"One house was completely destroyed and the house next to it was half-blown up.

"I then noticed a curtain moving in the house next door. I, and another man, smashed the window and next thing I was being handed a newborn baby."

'Tornado of smoke'

He said a five-year-old and his mother, who was cut and in shock, followed the baby out.

A man remains in hospital with serious injuries

They were led away from the rubble before Mr Fleming and the man returned to the house to try and help.

"We tried to see if anyone was in it from the back but it soon caught fire, so we pulled back and waited for the fire service to arrive."

Pirita Suomela, who lives nearby and was on the scene within minutes, said: "From where I was standing it looked like complete destruction."

She said she heard a loud bang and went outside to see "huge clouds of smoke coming up behind the trees".

A man was lying disorientated in the street with blood on his face.

"Within a minute of this I saw what can only be described as a tornado of smoke rising up, with violent flames blasting a long way over the footpath, immediately in front of the house," she added.

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