THE community of New Ferry will rise stronger from the ashes of the gas explosion 18 weeks ago – even if the Government has forgotten it.
This is the defiant message from one resident and father, who has spoken of the ongoing fight to rebuild both physically and emotionally.
Christopher Lee-Power was in the living room of his home at around 9.15pm on Sunday, March 25, when the window shattered with the force of the blast.
More than 30 people were injured as rubble from a furniture store, dance school and other businesses was strewn across streets near Boundary Road.
The Standard reported last week that Theresa May’s government had decided to offer no funding to businesses and residents affected by the explosion.
South Wirral Labour MP Alison McGovern described the move as “hugely disappointing”, a sentiment echoed by Mr Lee-Power, who works as an actor.
“It is 18 weeks on from that dreadful night,” he said. “Families are still in need, shops will be demolished, businesses are still out of business. People are physically and emotionally tired. We need help now.
“We must not forget New Ferry.”
Mr Lee-Power said his family remained in temporary accommodation and many people were still displaced, living with relatives.
Recalling what happened on the night of the blast, he said: “Our house was five doors away from the blast and I was in the living room at the time. All of a sudden there was a huge explosion and my front window blew in. I was shocked. I ran outside and could hear people screaming and crying.
“I thought it was a bomb. People were pointing to a huge building that had collapsed. It used to be a dance school which was on top of a furniture shop. The dancers had been there a few hours before. I ran back in and knew that the best thing to do was to phone for help and I knew that I needed to do something. I tried to phone my wife and son but at first, I could not contact them but was relieved to speak to them but it was sometime later when we were reunited.
“There were people knocking at my door to see if I was ok. I was totally in shock. I was panicking . I was told to grab what I could which was my coat and phone I walked out of the front door to something out of a disaster film.
“It reminded me of a terrorist attack. I was shaking and in shock. I then slumped on the floor next to a lamp post. It was very emotional.”
He said he still had flashbacks and sometimes finds himself running past buildings, fearing they might blow up.
“Many family businesses have been ruined and people’s lives affected,” he said. “This was one huge explosion and one that will never be forgotten.
“As a community we will continue to support each other and we will move forward. Like the Phoenix, in the children’s story the Phoenix and the Magic Carpet the Phoenix rises from the ashes and so will we.”
See full story in the Chester Leader