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Volunteers respond after explosion rips through six homes

8 July 2011

Volunteers and a fireman help a man after a fire© InfoVolunteers are supporting shaken local residents in Castleford after they narrowly escaped a gas explosion in the early hours today (8 July).

Firefighters were called out to the Hightown area early this morning and found a string of small fires in a row of six terraced houses. Sensing trouble, they immediately rescued the occupants of each home, and just seconds later an explosion occurred. Two firefighters were injured in the blast.

Two Red Cross fire and emergency support service (FESS) teams were called out by the local fire service and raced to the scene. They found stricken residents stood out in the street on a cold night, and immediately set about helping.

Practical support

The Red Cross’ specially adapted FESS vehicles can offer immediate safe shelter in an emergency, and are stocked with clothing, food and supplies. Volunteers help with practical necessities – such as finding temporary accommodation and calling insurance companies – as well as providing emotional support.

John Naylor, emergency response manager, said: "Our four FESS volunteers arrived at two in the morning and have worked tirelessly ever since to support the emergency services.”

‘Lucky escape’

“We helped 12 people throughout the night, and still had two residents on board our vehicle this morning, but thankfully most of the evacuated residents have now found alternative accommodation.”

Local resident Darren Taylor told BBC News that people had a lucky escape. He said: "It felt like I'd jumped off the floor a few inches. It was amazing how they all got out safely and no-one got hurt. It could have been a lot worse."

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