Barbara praised the community of Irlam for the way they supported all those people affected by the gas explosion in Merlin Road. Barbara also praised the emergency services for all their work to secure the area around the explosion and ensure that no-one was buried in the rubble, and the support services who had helped those who were evacuated from their homes.
“I came back from Westminster as soon as I heard the news and went straight to the area where this terrible explosion had brought down three houses and injured 14 people. Staff at the Tiger Moth pub had opened up and given people shelter and tea and toast. Mrs Carson and her staff at Fiddlers Lane Primary School supported the school becoming a rest centre for those who had been evacuated and the café at the school made sure they were fed as well as sheltered. Para-medics were on hand to ensure that medications were obtained for anyone who needed them.
"Later, many of the evacuated were taken or made their way to a Rest Centre set up at Fit City Cadishead. I was impressed with the support operation there with clothes, blankets, food and other essentials being available. Tired and shocked people who had been evacuated early in the morning could have a shower and change of clothes. Staff were on hand to make sure that people could be helped with whatever they needed before leaving the centre to stay with friends or family or to be put up in a hotel .I understand that local stores like Tesco and Morrisons had made donations of food and other essentials and that was generous of them.
"The Emergency Services put in an incredible effort to deal with the devastation at the explosion site and to keep the area of cordoned-off houses secure overnight. I have also met some of the local people like Vincent Jones and David Isherwood who turned into rescuers by going straight to help people out of the rubble within minutes of the explosion happening, which was very brave.
"I believe the community is at its best at a time like this and would like to thank all those who helped people get through the first 24 hours after this shocking event. The community will still need a lot more help and support in the days and weeks to come.”