By Erdington Local editorial team
Heartless thieves stole lifesaving equipment from a fire engine as its crew battled the blaze caused by the recent gas explosion in Kingstanding.
Grandmother Doreen Rees-Bibb died during the blast at the house on Dulwich Road, Kingstanding, on Sunday, 26 June, which left another man fighting for his life in hospital and destroyed or damaged six houses.
West Midlands Police revealed today whilst heroic residents and fire crews tried to save lives, someone prised open a cabinet on a fire engine at the scene and helped themselves to vital safety equipment.
A pump, cutters, a hose, and bolt croppers were taken from the fire engine and detectives are combing through footage from the area to identify the offenders.
Chief Inspector Kelly Monaghan said: “This is a despicable act during a serious incident when other members of the public were acting so heroically and selflessly.
“The items stolen are essential for firefighters to act quickly and save lives when it matters most, just like we saw in Kingstanding on Sunday.”
She added: “A side shutter was prised open and a pump, cutters, a hose and bolt croppers were taken. We’re already looking at footage from the area to identify the offenders.
“If anyone has any information please contact us via Live Chat on our website quoting 20/591089/22 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
The outpouring of support for families affected by the blaze was praised by the police, fire service, and Birmingham City Council.
Kind-hearted residents swamped the Kingstanding Inn, Second City Suite, and The Beggars Bush with donations of clothing, essentials and food for the families made homeless due to the blast, which was “most likely” caused by faulty pipework in the property.
A GoFundMe campaign was also set up by Kingstanding resident Sam Wellings, who lives on Birdbrook Road. At the time of writing over £2,500 had been raised in donations.
A vigil was also help one week after the fatal explosion, to remember Doreen Rees-Bibb and show support for those affected.
If you have any information regarding the theft from the fire engine, please contact West Midlands Police via Live Chat at: www.west-midlands.police.uk/contact-us/live-chat quoting 20/591089/22
Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
For more on the GoFundMe ‘Kingstanding house explosion’ campaign visit: www.gofundme.com/f/kingstanding-house-explosion