Wolverhampton gas explosion: Home nextdoor wrecked in blast and burgled twice
This shocking damage was caused to a house in Wolverhampton when a gas blast flattened the home next door.
The explosion destroyed one home and today neighbour Daljit Uppal revealed part of his house was also left badly damaged. He also told how raiders burgled his home after the blast.
Mr Uppal lives on Penn Road next door to Wendy Ayoub, who was saved by her washing machine in the gas blast that destroyed her home in December.
Today he told the Express & Star the damage had left him and his family unable to move back into their home, as he revealed burglars have twice targeted the address, stealing jewellery among other items.
But despite being shell-shocked by the devastation homeowner Daljit Uppal remains upbeat, saying: "All we can do is carry on."
Mr Uppal, aged 48, was holidaying in India when he saw news of the blast online."I almost had a panic attack," said Mr Uppal. "I couldn't believe it."
The 48-year-old's home was badly damaged when the house next door blew up in a gas blast in December.
His dining room was completely destroyed and part of his newly decorated kitchen was wrecked. The extent of the damage was such that he and his family have not yet been able to return to their home.
But now it has emerged that burglars raided the property twice at the end of January.
Talk about adding insult to injury. The thieves made off with hundreds of pounds worth of jewellery, alcohol and games consoles.
It is an unsavoury twist to an incident that saw a lucky escape for his neighbour Wendy Ayoub, who survived the blast by hiding behind her washing machine.
Mr Uppal, a hardworking man who runs a takeaway in Wolverhampton, is understandably devastated that his home was targeted, particularly at such a difficult time.
It proves that there is no limit to the depths to which some unscrupulous members of society will stoop. Burglary is a hurtful crime. It can cause deep emotional and psychological scars for its victims.
Victim Support say that mental health issues, such as increased anxiety or symptoms of depression, are all too common among those unfortunate enough to be targeted.
Any right-minded person would be sympathetic to the Uppal family following the gas blast.
Mr Uppal was on holiday in India when he found out what had happened. He returned to find that his house was unsafe to enter.
Yet sadly there are a minority of sick individuals who think nothing of taking advantage of an unfortunate situation.
The type of parasite who commits this type of crime must have a very warped sense of morality.
It is imperative that these despicable individuals are brought to justice. Their disgraceful actions deserve to feel the full force of the law.
We must hope that those responsible are among the seven people for every 100 burglaries arrested by West Midlands Police.
Meanwhile life goes on for the Uppal family. They do not yet know when they will be able to return home, but have at least had the good news that their insurance company has agreed to cover their expenses.
Mr Uppal says the raids had left him and his family desperately trying to rebuild their lives.
He added: "My wife had been in the dining room a moment before it happened."
He added: "She said it was like a bomb going off. I've spoken to people about the blast and a taxi driver said it blew out his windows. It made the bells at the temple across the road ring too."
The house was deemed inhabitable and the family initially moved into a hotel.
"I own a business on Dudley Street, Uppals sweet makers and caterers, so we eventually managed to find and move in to a rented property there," he said. But whilst the family were away, moving their remaining possessions out of the property and into their family's homes, burglars accessed the house.
They struck twice, during January 25-30.
He said: "They stole very sentimental items of jewellery from my wife.
"They also stole my son's Armani watch and Playstation 3. It's disgusting to think that you work hard and save all your life to get good quality things done and put in your house, then something like this happens and opportunists take advantage."
The explosion caused extensive damage to the left side of Mr Uppal's family home, destroying his dining room and part of his newly renovated kitchen.
A new driveway costing around £6,000 has also had to be ripped up by workmen since the blast for gas main repairs.
"We totally redecorated the house in June of last year," he said. "All the furniture was brand new, the dining table and chairs, everything. The kitchen had underfloor heating, we had new carpets and I had just finished re-modelling the bathrooms."
Mr Uppal and wife Kuldip, 48, have lived in the property for over 20 years and had renovated it to suit their son Sam, 19, who has colitis. Now the entire left side of the house cannot be entered due to safety issues.
Mr Uppal and his family hope that now they can try to get back to normal, and rebuild their lives.
Mr Uppal's insurance company have recently confirmed they will pay for Mr Uppal's expenses, and are working with Ms Ayoub's insurer to comfirm the demolition date for her home.
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