EXCLUSIVE: ‘I thought it was a bomb’: mother says she feels lucky to be alive after manhole explosion in Northampton

  • Mother-of-two says she feels ‘lucky to be alive’ afer manhole explosion
  • Gemma Byrne, 31, says she thought it was a ‘terrorist bomb’
  • Miss Byrne says her daughter is suffering nightmares about the incident

The mother of two children who narrowly avoided being seriously injured when a manhole cover exploded says she thought it was a “terrorist attack”.

Gemma Byrne, aged 31, who was at a cashpoint in Wellingborough Road with her two children Gage, aged 10, and Blaze, aged seven, on Tuesday when the manhole blasted into the air about a foot away from them.

Lucky escape: Gemma Byrne with her chidlren Blaze, aged seven (right) and Gage, aged 10 (left)

Lucky escape: Gemma Byrne with her chidlren Blaze, aged seven (right) and Gage, aged 10 (left)

Miss Byrne, who miraculously escaped serious injury in the explosion, said she felt lucky to be alive and was very thankful that none of her children were also harmed by the blast.

She said: “The explosion was just under a foot away from us and the blast pushed me back a little.

“I thought it was a terrorist attack on the shop and I thought the whole building was going to fall down.

“It was very loud and my ears are still ringing a bit.

I feel grateful to be alive. It could have been a lot worse.

Gemma Byrne

“My hair was a bit singed and my daughter suffered a bit of bruising to her back.

“I always pull my children in close to me at the cashpoint and I’m glad I did that otherwise they would have been standing right on top of it.

“I feel grateful to be alive. A firefighter said were lucky as the manhole cover was quite heavy and it took the brunt of the blast. It could have been a lot worse.”

Despite not suffering any physical injuries, Ms Byrne said the children were both suffering psychological effects of the incident.

Lucky escape: Gemma Byrne with her chidlren Blaze, aged seven (right) and Gage, aged 10 (left)

Lucky escape: Gemma Byrne with her chidlren Blaze, aged seven (right) and Gage, aged 10 (left)

She said: “My daughter keeps having nightmares about it and she won’t leave my side when we go out in the street now. She is particularly wary of walking over manhole covers.

“My son now won’t sleep until he knows every electrical point in the house is switched off.”

Miss Byrne, who lives in Wellingborough Road, said she was at the cashpoint to get some money to buy a breakfast at Subway for her two children, who both attend Cedar Road Primary School.

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