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Leaking gas heater caused fatal explosion at brothers' home in Brandon, near Durham
INITIAL investigations have revealed an explosion which killed a cancer sufferer was caused by a leaking portable gas fire.
It is thought Stuart Taylor, 52, may have been using the mobile appliance because he felt the cold due to his condition.
Fire investigators have established that blast and subsequent fire at the home he shared with his brother, Trevor, 66, was caused by leaking fuel.
The canister remained intact, but the blast destroyed the brothers’ family home on Moor Edge, Brandon, near Durham City, at around 6.30pm on Sunday.
Area manager Keith Wanley, of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The gas cloud that has leaked has ignited and caused the explosion.
“The source of the ignition and the circumstances leading up to that is still under investigation.
“We do believe though there has been a gas leak from the portable heater, which has been located upstairs.”
Trevor Taylor, who had to be stopped from going back into the house to save his brother, was taken to the RVI in Newcastle where he is being treated for leg injuries.
Mr Taylor’s was the second fire death over the Bank Holiday Weekend.
A man, named locally as 48-year-old Tony Lapping, died in a blaze in his first floor flat in Dunston, Gateshead on Saturday. (24 August).
He was found in his living room by fire crews who were called to the scene after a 999 call at 10.45pm from a neighbour.
Area manager Kevin Hepple of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I cannot emphasise enough to everyone the importance of having working smoke alarms.
“Every household should have one on every level and the batteries should be checked weekly.
“This gentleman may have been alerted to the fire if the batteries had not been taken out of his smoke alarm.
“They give you the vital minutes you need to get out safely and they can mean the difference between life and death.”
For free home fire safety advice in County Durham call 0191-332-4222 or visit ddfire.gov.uk to find outmore.
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