BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – A pre-dawn explosion shattered a two-story Birmingham apartment building Tuesday 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 40-year-old fiancee, Tyrennis Mabry, was burned badly and died before rescuers could reach her, coroner’s officials said.
The man was hospitalized in critical but stable condition with numerous injuries. His name wasn’t 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. Tuesday after a fireball erupted at Gate City Apartments, a few miles from downtown Birmingham. Photos taken by residents showed flames that turned the night sky bright orange.
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 were 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.
Workers from Alagasco, the utility that provides natural gas in the area, were at the apartment complex after the explosion.
The apartment building will have to be demolished because the remaining section was unstable, Mardis said.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Water tips to save money, help save the Earth
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon
- What you need to know about Alzheimer's disease in Arizona
- Spring clean your windows like a pro with these 8 tips
- 7 films that should have won best-picture Oscars
- New plumbing technology saves money and improves your home
- Survey shows Arizona CFOs optimistic about 2016
- How chronic pain can affect your love life
- 5 potential warning signs about your child's development