Teams investigate gas explosion area

An acrobat from Gerry Cottle's Circus is fighting for his life after an explosion and fire in his caravan, which was parked on land off Burton Road in Marton with the rest of the circus vehicles.'General view of the site.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'23-10-2012
An acrobat from Gerry Cottle's Circus is fighting for his life after an explosion and fire in his caravan, which was parked on land off Burton Road in Marton with the rest of the circus vehicles.'General view of the site. PIC BY ROB LOCK'23-10-2012
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INVESTIGATIONS are underway to determine the cause of a gas explosion which left a man with severe burns to his head and body.

Acrobat Jumma Karani, 28, was caught in an explosion after gas ignited in his caravan off Burton Road, Marton.

The acrobat, a performer in Gerry Cottle’s Wow! Circus at The Globe Theatre, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, was caught in a flashback fire which caused severe burns to his head, arms and legs.

Police and Blackpool Council are now working with specialists from the Health and Safety Executive’s safety laboratories at the scene to find out the cause of the explosion.

A team of Gas Safe engineers has also been drafted in by police to help them ensure the area is safe for other performers who have been staying in converted articulated lorry caravans at the site since late September.

The circus performers have been moved to other accommodation while each unit and caravan is inspected.

Det Sgt Jane Atkinson, from Blackpool CID, said: “This is a multi-agency response and our investigations are ongoing. Our

inquiries are to establish what happened.”

The explosion happened just before 11am on Tuesday.

Mr Karani, a performer with the Kenyan Warriors, was taken by ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital before being airlifted to Wythenshawe where he was last night in a critical but

stable condition in a specialist burns unit.

It has been suggested Mr Karani had experienced a problem with his gas cooker.

Health and Safety officials from Blackpool Council are also assisting with investigations at the scene.

Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member with responsibility for housing and quality standards, said: “Our officers are currently working alongside colleagues from the Police, Health and Safety Laboratories and Gas Safe to investigate the cause of the tragic incident on Tuesday.

“Our thoughts are with the injured gentleman and hope he has a speedy recovery.

“Our priority now is to ensure that the units are safe and don’t pose a further risk to members of the public.”

Performers in the circus have continued to put on the show.