Yesterday morning, the eighth of January, should have been the start of just another day for 9 year old Stephanie Hammacott as she and her mother walked to the local school at Southway on the north side of Plymouth. Tragically Stephanie happened to be just in the wrong place at that time. As she walked past a house, one of a block of four, a massive gas blast took place and the young girl was showered by debris from the property which was all but demolished by the explosion. Despite the best efforts of a man and a female nurse to save her Stephanie lost her life.
What is even more awful for the family is that her mother was nearby when it happened. For all of us who wouldn't have known Stephanie, shocked though we may be by the death of someone so young, the event will leave our consciousness. But spare a thought now for her mother and father and other close family. This utter tragedy will be with them for the rest of their lives. It is an incredibly fine line between life and death sometimes. Reports suggest that there was a smell of gas in the vicinity prior to the explosion. The elderly couple who occupied the home do not appear to have been seriously hurt - I guess with the wall bursting outwards they were in a (relatively) safe place.
I join the very many others in extending condolences to Stephanie's family.