Woman was ‘thrown in air’ by Gold Street explosion, and remains in hospital

The minutes after the explosion as staff from nearby businesses tried to tackle the fire. Photo from a video sent in by Tom Pavela.

The minutes after the explosion as staff from nearby businesses tried to tackle the fire. Photo from a video sent in by Tom Pavela.

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A woman remains in hospital, unable to walk, after drain cover exploded just as she stepped on it.

Zoe, who asked us not to use her surname, was walking along Gold Street on Tuesday with her mother and four-year-old son.

Zoe, speaking to the Chron from her hospital bed, said: “My son was holding my hand, walking just behind me. At first I thought he stepped on my heel – that’s what it felt like. Then the next thing I know I was thrown four feet into the air. I don’t remember a loud explosion.

“I landed back on the drain cover and it cracked and my leg went down it as the flames shot out.

“My first instinct was to get my son away. It wasn’t until I was about 20 yards away that my leg gave way.

“When the fire crew arrived two firemen came and gave me first aid until the ambulance arrived. The firemen and the ambulance were amazing.

“If I had been just a split second faster, it would have been my son who stepped on the cover just as it exploded.”

Zoe, who is 28 and from the town, remains at Northampton General Hospital, continuing to undergo tests to determine the exact nature of her injuries.

She said: “I can’t even sit up at the moment because my left leg, from the hip down, can’t move. I’m due to have more tests on Thursday.”

The fire service said a build up of heat underground, coupled with a subterranean electrical fault caused the drama.

Gas pipe replacements have been taking place at the bottom of Gold Street for several days. Despite the constant flame, Western Power said it did not believe gas was involved in the fire. A spokesman could not rule it out, however.