The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 17, 2013

Woman killed, fiance survives apartment explosion

BIRMINGHAM —

A pre-dawn explosion shattered a two-story Birmingham apartment building today as residents slept, trapping an engaged couple in bed as bricks and concrete rained down on them.

After more than four hours of delicate work, firefighters freed the man, using large jacks to lift a concrete slab that had collapsed. But his fiancee was burned badly and died before rescuers could reach her, officials said.

The man was hospitalized in critical but stable condition with numerous injuries. Neither his name nor his fiancee's were immediately released.

Five children and two adults also were hurt, officials said, but none of the injuries was life-threatening. Survivors crawled through fire and debris to get to the street to safety.

Fire officials said they suspected natural gas was behind the blast, but the cause was still under investigation.

Firefighters were called about 3:45 a.m. today after a fireball erupted at Gate City Apartments, a few miles from downtown Birmingham. 

The blast leveled about half the building, which burned before crews could get close enough to begin rescue work.

Battalion Chief C.W. Mardis of the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service said the couple, in a first-floor apartment, apparently was asleep in bed at the time of the explosion, which blew out the exterior walls and caused the building collapse.

"The actual concrete slab from the second floor was on them," said Mardis.

1
Text Only
State and Nation
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee