Urgent Business - Report following the Explosion in New Ferry on Saturday, 25 March 2017
Councillor Phil Davies informed the Cabinet that he had invited the Head of Community Safety and Transport Services to attend the meeting to provide the Cabinet, as a matter of urgency, with a report on the horrendous accident that had occurred in New Ferry over the week end when there had been a dreadful explosion. He also paid tribute to the fantastic work Council staff had undertaken on a whole host of levels. There had been people working around the clock reassuring residents and helping find alternative accommodation for those people who were unable to return to their homes.
Councillor Davies also informed that there had been a fantastic team effort and he was proud of the contributions made by Council staff. People had been reassured that they were safe and were being looked after. He sent a message of ‘well done!’ to all concerned.
The Head of Community Safety and Transport Services, Mark Camborne provided the Cabinet with an update on the situation at New Ferry. He informed that at 9:15pm on Saturday, 25 March 2017 there had been a large explosion at 1 Boundary Road which had left two people seriously injured in hospital, whilst many other people had been treated by the emergency services for their injuries.
As a result of the explosion, a multi-agency operation had been put in place and an emergency evacuation centre had been opened at the Life Centre where a large number of people had been looked after. Local businesses had been making donations of food and drinks.
Mr Camborne informed that a police investigation was underway and was concentrating on a possible gas explosion. Thirty domestic premises were in an unfit state and could not be re-inhabited. Council officers were out in force and Gas and Electric Companies had staff on site. Mr Camborne suspected that a lot of buildings would be declared unfit for habitation and would have to be pulled down. When the cordon was reduced some people would be allowed back to their properties.
Mr Camborne reported on the next steps. New Ferry was now moving out of the emergency phase into the recovery phase. A Recovery Working Group would be established and would be led by the Assistant Director – Environmental Services, David Ball.
Councillor Janette Williamson informed that she lived in New Ferry and her home was in the initial cordon. She informed that it had been a very frightening time as the blast had been so severe. The multi-agency response had been brilliant and she could not praise the staff that had provided assistance enough. Councillor Williamson thanked everyone who had helped on behalf of herself and her neighbours.
Councillor Williams referred to the Dance Studio that had been flattened in the explosion and informed that children had been in the building just one hour before it was destroyed in the blast.
Councillor Davies informed that his thoughts were with those who had been injured in the explosion, their families and friends. He thanked the volunteers of the Life Church and thanked God that there were no fatalities. He also praised the community spirit in New Ferry which was fantastic and urged people to make donations of blankets and food.
Councillor Davies also informed that he intended to write personally to each member of staff who had helped in New Ferry after the explosion to thank them for their efforts and contributions.