By Erdington Local editorial team
A vigil is being held on Dulwich Road on Sunday 3 July, marking a week after the tragic gas explosion.
At 7pm the community will come together to mark the moment the blast ripped through the Kingstanding home, killing Doreen Rees-Bibb and seriously injuring a man who remains in hospital.
Several people were made also homeless from the incident, and the Kingstanding community rallied round this week by raising money, giving donations, and offering support.
Sunday’s 7pm vigil will be to remember Doreen, age 79, who was killed in the blast, and to show solidarity for the man still fighting for his life. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Kingstanding resident Cassie Harker said: “Everyone is going at 7pm we are all lighting the candles at the time the explosion happened.
“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone represent our community and come together as one.”
There has been a massive outpouring of grief for “fun-loving grandmother” Doreen, who died at the scene.
Her daughter Karen led the tributes to her mother saying: “We are so devastated that me and my sister have loss our mother Doreen in a fire, it’s the most terrible way to die. We miss her so much.”
Doreen was a popular figure around Erdington and Kingstanding and friends who remember her enjoying nights in The Acorn and the former HQ, now the Pheasant Plucker, on High Street, flooded social media with fond memories.
Former karaoke DJ at HQ Gary Neale said: “She was my friend, and a lovely lady.”
Several people who she had helped in the past by giving sage advice and support also mourned her loss.
Maureen Harwood said: “I’m so sorry, she was such a good friend to me, and helped me.”
Alex Stanley said: “I can’t believe it is true, Doreen was such an angel, I am absolutely heartbroken. She was always asking about me, telling me to get out of Birmingham saying “Alex you are better than this place”. RIP and party hard up there.”
Eight families were forced out of their damaged houses and there have been several fundraising drives to help them, with the Kingstanding Inn, Second City Bar and Lounge, and the Beggars Bush all accepting donations.
Kingstanding resident Sam Wellings, Birdbrook Road, also set up a Go Fund Me which has so far received over £2000 in donations.
Rachael Pike-Franklin said last night (Tuesday): “We are working alongside some of the families in our community at the Kingstanding Inn the clothes donations have been phenomenal and we are truly grateful for everyone who has been a part of collecting and donating .
“For now we have been asked to not accept anymore clothes donations but are looking for fresh food products to help feed the families in our community at this tragic time.”
Investigations into the cause of the explosion are still ongoing. However, gas suppliers Cadent have confirmed their role in the investigation is over.
Elliott Nelson, Cadent network director for the West Midlands said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those impacted and everyone in this close-knit community.
“Since the incident, our engineers have been on site working with the emergency services.
“Following a thorough investigation, we can confirm that the gas mains and service pipes in the area are sound and were not the cause of the incident in Kingstanding. The matter now lies with other agencies for further investigation.”
A for sale advert for the house posted two months ago included information about the boiler, which “needed replacing”.
West Midlands Fire Service investigators remain at the scene trying to find the exact cause of the explosion.
In a recent public update, WMFS told: “Wed 29 June, it is likely that demolition work will be needed at the scene, following which the next stage of investigations can be planned.”
For more on the GoFundMe ‘Kingstanding house explosion’ campaign visit: www.gofundme.com/f/kingstanding-house-explosion