Woman who died after explosion at Bedford flats named

Reena James, 43, is believed to be the only fatality in the incident in Redwood Grove, Bedford

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A woman who died after an explosion and fire at a three-storey block of flats has been named by police.

Reena James, 43, is believed to be the only fatality in the incident in Redwood Grove, Bedford, on July 4, Bedfordshire Police said on Tuesday.

Ms James, who lived in the block of flats, was formally identified on Friday.

Chief Superintendent John Murphy said: “This must be an awful time for all of Reena’s loved ones and our thoughts are with them at such a difficult and distressing time.

The scene of the explosion at Redwood Grove, Bedford
The scene of the explosion at Redwood Grove, Bedford
Reena James, 43, is believed to be the only fatality in the incident
Reena James, 43, is believed to be the only fatality in the incident

“Specialist family liaison officers are working with her family and will support them however we can.”

Police said limited demolition work could start on the block of flats as soon as this week.

This would be a step towards making it a safe environment for investigators to begin more detailed investigations into what happened.

“We understand there is a lot of rumour and speculation regarding the cause of the explosion and fire at Redwood Grove last week,” Mr Murphy said.

“Due to the complexity of the scene and how difficult it will be to physically get investigators into the building, we know this will be a long and protracted investigation.

“Until we can access the site, we remain open minded to the cause and detectives are following up numerous lines of inquiry together with fire service investigators.

“I’d like to thank people for their patience and understanding and urge anyone with any information they consider relevant to report it.”

It has been confirmed there was no mains gas supply into the building.