Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham manhole explosion: Mother describes 'miracle' escape

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Media captionSanele Mhlanga said she was "feeling very blessed"

The mother of a two-year-old girl said it is "a miracle" she escaped injury when a manhole on a Birmingham street exploded.

The blast happened at 12:21 GMT on Thursday at Warwick Road, Tyseley, as Sanele Mhlanga and her daughter, Karen, were passing.

"She didn't have a scratch. I'm feeling very blessed - she's my precious girl," Mrs Mhlanga said.

A gas leak has been ruled out as the cause by National Grid.

Video footage posted by West Midlands Fire and Rescue shows Mrs Mhlanga and her daughter walking past the manhole immediately before the explosion.

Mrs Mhlanga, who lives in Aston with her family, said: "I was just calling Karen to come towards me and the next thing I just froze and thought 'my God, what's happening'.

"[The thought of] losing my only daughter was really quite shocking - it's a miracle I'm still holding her like this."

No gas leak

Masood Mushtaq owns the shop whose CCTV camera captured the explosion.

He said there had been another explosion in the same manhole nine months before.

"Everybody is just worried now. Will they get it fixed, will they find the cause?"

John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, is also concerned the cause of the explosions has not been identified.

"We really do need to know what caused this because we don't know where else is risky," he said.

National Grid said their gas emergency service was called to an explosion in a BT cable box.

Its engineers found "no gas escape in or around the box" and said they were continuing routine investigations on the gas pipes in the vicinity.

BT has confirmed there was an explosion in one of its manholes.

"There is no evidence to suggest that this explosion was caused by BT equipment but of course specialist engineers will continue to conduct a thorough investigation," a spokeswoman said.

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