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UK manhole explosion not caused by gas leak – National Grid

23 January 2015

An underground explosion on January 22 in Tyseley, Birmingham, blew a manhole cover several feet into the air, narrowly missing a mother and her daughter as they passed nearby. The mother of the two-year-old girl said it is "a miracle" she escaped injury because of the proximity of the blast to the pair as they passed on the pavement.

Stock image
Stock image

The parents of the girl described a hissing sound coming from the ground and before, with fire accompanying the explosion.

Video footage posted by West Midlands Fire and Rescue showed the mother and daughter walking past the manhole immediately before the explosion. According to the Birmingham Mail, the incident left a one metre deep hole in the pavement.

A gas leak has been ruled out as the cause by National Grid, who said their gas emergency service found no gas escape in or around the BT cable box where the blast happened. They said they were continuing routine investigations on the gas pipes in the vicinity.

BT has confirmed there was an explosion in one of its manholes. "There is no evidence to suggest that this explosion was caused by BT equipment but of course specialist engineers will continue to conduct a thorough investigation," a spokeswoman told the BBC.

The shop owner whose CCTV camera captured the explosion said there had been another explosion in the same manhole nine months before.

John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley said he was concerned the cause of the explosions has not been identified. "We really do need to know what caused this because we don't know where else is risky," he said.


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