Wirral explosion: Community hub opens for victims

Wirral blast
Image caption Residents and business owners have been getting advice in New Ferry village hall

A community hub has opened giving support to people affected by a suspected gas explosion on Merseyside.

Up to 100 residents and 30 business owners affected by the blast in Bebington, Wirral are being offered help from a team of advisers at New Ferry village hall.

Two people were seriously hurt and 31 others injured in the explosion on Saturday evening.

The site remains a crime scene as police investigate the cause.

'Got nothing'

Christine Pickup was at home with her three grandchildren at the time of the explosion. They escaped with cuts and bruises.

She went to the hub earlier to find out when she can get back into her home.

"I walked out in my pyjamas and a phone in my hand," she said.

"Friends have put clothes on my back. I couldn't get any money because it's all in my purse. I've had to cancel all my cards. I've just got nothing - it's like losing your identity.

"The advice will help but I don't think I'll get part of my life back."

At the scene: Roisin Hastie, BBC Radio Merseyside

There are dozens of people who have come here for advice and there is a mix of feelings.

Some are upset, confused and lost. They want to know when they can go home to get their belongings and when their homes will be boarded up to help prevent their possessions from being stolen.

Most are dazed because they are missing the comfort of their own homes and been sleeping on floors in temporary accommodation.

People don't know how long they will need to make contingency plans. It's making the whole situation more difficult.

This hub is trying to point people in the right direction and get a better understanding of what they need.

Image caption The drop-in facility is open from 10:00 to 16:00 for people and businesses from New Ferry and Port Sunlight

Thirty businesses in New Ferry and Port Sunlight have been unable to trade because of collapsed or damaged buildings, according to New Ferry's Residents' Association.

Insurance adviser Brian Telfer said he had been encouraging people "to be very clear and to explain the seriousness of the situation so they can get you a representative out as soon as possible".

The drop-in facility on Grove Road will be open between 10:00 and 16:00 BST until Friday 31 March.

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