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Blast kills man and daughter-in-law


The body of a woman has been found in a Newark house where a man died in a suspected gas blast

The body of a woman has been found in a Newark house where a man died in a suspected gas blast

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The body of a woman has been found in a Newark house where a man died in a suspected gas blast

A man and his daughter-in-law are believed to have been killed in a suspected gas blast, police said.

Nottinghamshire Police said they believed Leslie Rourke, 71, and his daughter-in-law Jeanette, 40, died following the explosion at a terraced house on Sunday.

A second man, who police believe to be Jeanette's husband and Mr Rourke's son, Nicholas Rourke, is recovering in hospital after suffering serious injuries in the blast.

Meanwhile brave neighbours helped to rescue a four-month-old baby girl, a seven-year-old boy and a woman from the house next door. They were taken to the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham for treatment and were later discharged.

Fire crews found Mr Rourke's body buried between the ground floor and the basement of the property in Newark, Nottinghamshire. Ongoing searches in the rubble later revealed the body of a woman, believed to be that of Mrs Rourke. Both bodies have now been removed from the scene.

Neighbours Jeanette Dixon, 34, and Katie Graves, 27, pulled Nicholas Rourke from the rubble and stayed with him until paramedics arrived and took him to hospital. Mr Rourke remains in hospital after suffering serious injuries in the blast.

Miss Graves said: "I thought a car had gone into another car but then I saw it... Where there had been a house. There wasn't a house there anymore. It had gone. We saw Nick's hand hanging out of the rubble so we pulled him out. The house next door the guys were smashing the window to get into the house and then I saw a baby being passed through the window of the house next door. We tried to see if there was anyone else in the rubble but the flames were too intense. It was like a PlayStation game. I've never seen anything like it. The house was everywhere. The house is on the other side of the road. It seemed to have come forward. By this time they had evacuated everyone from the street."

Describing the blast, Miss Dixon said: "We were just watching TV and then all of a sudden it was like a boom. People have said explosion but that's the wrong word. We looked out the window and we could just see people running, screaming and smoke in the street. We run out on to the street. You couldn't see anything it was just smoke." Miss Graves added: "It was like a sonic boom - like you see in the films where everything just comes together and goes bang and that's exactly what it was like. Everything in the house just jumped and left the floor - the whole house did. It was a noise that wasn't a normal noise."

Emergency services rushed to the scene after the blast at around 5.15pm on Sunday. More than 100 people were evacuated form nearby homes as a precaution while a rest centre was set up at a nearby leisure centre. Nottinghamshire County Council said a hotline has been set up for people who had been affected by the explosion. Local residents who were evacuated and who want information on when they can return can contact the council on 0300 500 80 80, a spokesman said.

Superintendent Mike Manley, of Nottinghamshire Police, said he was keeping an open mind on the cause of the fire. Speaking at the scene, the officer said: "The one line of inquiry we have been talking about is that potentially someone from the family was doing some DIY in the basement but that's just one line of inquiry. We must keep an open mind."