Monday, 11 January 2010

Shrewsbury Explosion affects The Real Handbag Shop…

News Report:
A blast rocked the town centre of Shrewsbury when a building next door to the Shrewsbury Hotel, on the corner of Bridge Street and Smithfield Road was completely demolished by a sudden explosion at around 1130 a.m. on Sunday, 3rd January 2010. Eye-witnesses spoke of fierce flames and thick smoke billowing from beneath piles of rubble and brick. Subsequent photographs show the remnants of the building as a shell reminiscent of wartime bombings. The building, containing flats and an empty shop, was completely obliterated. Shock waves damaged vehicles, windows and brickwork within the immediate vicinity.

It is believed that around twelve people were injured. According to reports from the Shropshire Star, Annie Davies sustained severe burns to her head, neck and chest when she was blown out of the building from the first floor. Her mother said it was a miracle the 19-year-old, who is in a stable condition after being airlifted to Birmingham’s Selly Oak Hospital, had survived. Miss Davies’ friends Sam Devine-Turner and Sarah Pearse, both 19, are also in a stable condition at Selly Oak, as is Miss Pearse’s boyfriend Scott Godbold, 23.

Kiley McDonnell, who was starring in the Peter Pan pantomime at Theatre Severn as the character Jovial Jake, was also injured and was reported to be in a serious but stable condition at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital with spinal injuries. Five other people were injured as rubble fell on the car in which they were sitting on the street outside the building and were taken to Royal Shrewsbury hospital.

Police, fire and ambulance services were highly praised for an efficient and speedy response to the emergency situation. A fire service spokesman confirmed to the press that there had been “quite a significant gas leak” and added: “Luckily, I would say, it has been a very quiet period. If this had been prior to Christmas, when the shops and the streets and the pubs were a lot busier, then it could have been a significantly worse incident.” The fire and rescue service continues to investigate what caused the explosion.

Performances were cancelled at the Theatre Severn, which is across the river from the explosion site. Shrewsbury Sixth Form College was also closed. Bridge Street, Barker Street, Welsh Bridge, Mardol, and Victoria Quay all remain closed disrupting the traffic flow in and around Shrewsbury. Halls the auctioneers and Timothys of Shrewsbury, a lighting shop in Mardol are amongst the many shops and businesses affected.

Superintendent Whitelegg said there would be continued disruption in the Frankwell area, especially near the entrance to the car park, as BT engineers worked to replace blast-damaged cables. Telephones were out of action for more than five days and affected around 3,500 properties including The Real Handbag Shop’s head office where staff resorted to using their own mobile phones in order to keep customer service operational during the January Sales.

All the staff at The Real Handbag Shop wish the victims of the Shrewsbury explosion a speedy recovery.

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