Gas Explosion averted by Firefighters

Brothers Sean, left, and Mark Nicholas pictured with resident John Jones.

Shropshire firefighters prevented a potential gas explosion at a block of flats while carrying out a routine fire safety visit at a Much Wenlock home.

Brothers Sean and Mark Nicholas, both retained duty firefighters based in the market town, were luckily on a home visit when they spotted the gas leak.

The firefighters both smelled gas as soon as resident John Jones opened his front door.

Mr Jones, 63, who was smoking, was quickly advised to put out his cigarette before the firefighters shut off the gas supply, turned off the electrics and opened all the windows at the flat in Station Wharf.

"Mr Jones was smoking a cigarette when he opened the door. We told him to put it out because the smell of gas was so strong. It made us cough as we went in," said Sean, who with his brother help to keep the fire appliance in Much Wenlock in action.

A gas engineer from Transco was alerted and arrived within the hour to discover that the gas boiler was leaking.

"The whole block of flats could have gone up if we hadn't made the visit just at that time," said Sean.

Mr Jones, whose son lives in the flat below, said he had "no idea" that there was a gas leak as some windows in his property were already open.

"I couldn't smell it," said Mr Jones, who said his boiler had been serviced just five months ago.

The Nicholas brothers, who live in Ludlow, are working in Much Wenlock giving fire prevention advice to householders and turning out for emergency incidents.

They have visited more than 1,300 homes in the town giving fire safety advice, fitting free ten year smoke alarms and carrying out 450 home surveys as part of a Shropshire wide fire safety campaign which has seen house fires plummet across the county.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is looking to recruit more retained firefighters in Much Wenlock and at other Shropshire stations.

16th February, 2007