Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gas Explosion in Birmingham - 9 March 1875

A tremendous and destructive gas explosion occurred shortly before eight o'clock last evening in Great Lister Street, Birmingham. So far as can be ascertained, there has been a leakage in the water mains in the streets for some time past, and this caused a subsidence of the soil of the roadway, forming a cavity beneath the surface.

It is believed the sinking of the earth tore away a service-pipe from the man of the Birmingham and Staffordshire Gas Company, and thus a large escape of gas took place. The gas which had accumulated in this large cavity, and the sewer adjacent was tired it is universally believed by a person throwing a lighted fuse into a hole which had formed in the roadway. Instantaneously a terrible explosion took place, followed by two other explosions at other parts of the street, right and left.

At the scene of the central explosion the earth was torn up, and shortly a chasm 25 feet in diameter and 8 feet in depth was formed. The other explosions took place at "manholes" connected with the sewer, the covers of which were blown away and the pavement torn up. Many of the houses and shops in the neighbourhood have been severely damaged, and four or five persons have sustained injuries more or less severe.

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