House explosion that killed woman was caused by ignited gas leak, investigation finds

An explosion which killed a 79-year-old woman was caused by a gas leak which ignited, an investigation has concluded.

The scene in Dulwich Road, Kingstanding
The scene in Dulwich Road, Kingstanding

Doreen Rees-Bibb, aged 79, died in the explosion that destroyed her Dulwich Road home in the Kingstanding area of Birmingham on Sunday evening.

Her partner, who was rescued from the building after the explosion, remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Doreen had only recently moved into the house and the "sold" sign could still be seen in the wreckage.

Photo: West Midlands Fire Service

A spokesperson for West Midlands Fire Service said: "We would like to take this opportunity to again extend our sympathies to everyone affected by Sunday night’s events in which, tragically, a woman lost her life.

"Extensive investigations at the scene of the explosion are now complete.

"Demolition work yesterday afternoon enabled investigators to safely access and test sections of the property’s internal gas piping.

"They have concluded that the explosion was most likely caused by the accidental and inadvertent ignition of a large escape of gas from a joint in the pipework.

"West Midlands Police’s own work continues, as officers work to formally identify the woman found dead at the scene and gather evidence for HM Coroner.

"Police family liaison officers continue to support those most directly affected.

"Whilst these enquiries continue The Health and Safety Executive will continue to make enquiries as to whether any work-related activities contributed towards the incident.

"We are extremely grateful to the families involved, and to the local community, for their understanding and patience throughout the initial emergency response and the subsequent investigation.

"The community has been fantastic in the aftermath of this tragedy, offering support and shelter to those affected, and we would like to thank everyone involved in that effort."

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