Manchester gas explosion leads to recue dog callout

Dominating the news in the north of England this week was a gas explosion in Manchester. The explosion happened in the early hours of the morning in Irlam, Salford – near Manchester United’s football ground, and dozens people were caught up in the blast.

Mike Dewar, a firefighter from Bolton, was called in to help look for people trapped in the rubble of what was once their homes, and he had his trusty Labrador Echo to help him. Mike and Echo are from the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, and they have a history of helping in these types of tragic situations.

The explosion, which is thought to be connected to gas improvement works that happened the same week, has left 11 people in hospital, many of them children, and has completely destroyed four Manchester homes.

Mr Dewar, and rescue dog Echo, arriving on the scene shortly after the explosion at 7:30am, commented:

“It was very chaotic when we got there and, after a quick brief from the incident commander, Echo was deployed to see if he could pick out any possible survivors among the rubble.”

“Echo showed some interest in one particular area, but that turned out to be a false alarm.”

Mike and his rescue dog searched for trapped survivors for almost five hours, but luckily no one was trapped and Echo’s search turned up a blank. 40 firefighters joined in the search for potential survivors, and neighbouring streets were cordoned off.

The City West Housing Trust’s Tim Doyle confirmed that gas works had been carried out in the properties this week, adding:

“We are now working with the emergency services on an ongoing investigation into the cause of the explosion.”

Echo’s previous exploits of heroism include saving a toddler who was trapped under rubble as a result of the recent earthquake in Haiti. Echo was also given the honour of ‘Animal of the Year’ in October at the House of Lords.


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