'Despicable' thieves stole equipment from fire engine as crew responded to gas explosion

Lifesaving equipment was stolen from a fire engine as its crew battled to pull casualties from a gas explosion that killed a grandmother.

The explosion in Kingstanding killed one person
The explosion in Kingstanding killed one person

Doreen Rees-Bibb died during the explosion on Dulwich Road, Kingstanding, on Sunday, June 26, which injured five people and destroyed or damaged six houses.

West Midlands Police revealed on Monday that whilst heroic residents and fire crews tried to save lives, someone prised open a cabinet on a fire engine at the scene and helped themselves to vital safety equipment.

A pump, cutters, a hose and bolt croppers were taken from the fire engine and detectives are combing through footage from the area to identify the offenders.

Chief Inspector Kelly Monaghan said: “This is a despicable act during a serious incident when other members of the public were acting so heroically and selflessly.

“The items stolen are essential for firefighters to act quickly and save lives when it matters most, just like we saw in Kingstanding on Sunday.”

She added: "A side shutter was prised open and a pump, cutters, a hose and bolt croppers were taken. We’re already looking at footage from the area to identify the offenders."

If anyone has any information please contact us via Live Chat on our website quoting 20/591089/22 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The outpouring of support for families affected by the blaze was praised by the police, fire service and Birmingham City Council.

Kind-hearted residents swamped the Kingstanding Inn, Second City Suite and The Beggars Bush with donations of clothing, essentials and food for the families made homeless due to the blast, which was caused by faulty pipework in the property.

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