Family’s devastation after Sydney townhouse explosion

The scene of the explosion

Source: Fire and Rescue NSW

The devastated family of a woman killed in the blast that destroyed a Sydney townhouse have spoken of their grief “at this tragic time”.

The body of Mhey Yumol Jasmin was found in the rubble of the townhouse about 3.20am on Monday, as authorities investigate if a gas leak was to blame for the deadly blast that rocked the Sydney suburb of Whalan.

The body was formally identified as the 30-year-old trainee nurse later on Monday.

Mhey was visiting her mother, Mercy, in the complex when Saturday’s explosion happened.

She was the only person unaccounted for.

Her body was found after rescuers worked around the clock to pick through the rubble, sometimes by hand, looking for the missing woman.

Eventually, a crane was brought in to move the property’s concrete slab, and the grim discovery was made in the kitchen of the destroyed home.

It dashed any hopes that Mhey might be found alive.

“We would like to thank all of the emergency services personnel for their tireless efforts over the past few days,” Mhey’s heartbroken family said on Monday.

“We especially want to thank all the police officers, NSW Fire and Rescue personnel and NSW Ambulance paramedics.

“The family is so appreciative of their support, kindness and assistance.

“We’d also like to thank the public for their prayers and for respecting our privacy at this tragic time.”

whalan gas explosion

The body is believed to be that of Jasmin Mhey, who was the only person still missing after the blast. Photo: Supplied

Earlier, authorities confirmed gas experts would investigate the confronting scene in Sydney’s west after the explosion levelled the two-storey townhouse.

It’s speculated that a gas leak played a role in the deadly blast, amid reports locals – including Mhey’s mother – smelled gas in the area in recent weeks.

Local woman Amy told The Daily Telegraph that Mhey’s mother had returned home on Saturday afternoon to find her house destroyed.

She repeatedly tried to contact her daughter, but got no response.

Mhey was also reportedly meant to be at work from 3pm on Saturday, but never showed.

“She kept dialling her daughter’s number, but there was nothing,” Amy told The Daily Telegraph.

“Then she told the police her daughter was meant to be at Volcanos steak restaurant at Wetherill Park … so the police rang there and they said she hadn’t turned up, so we knew she must be under there.”

Five other people were treated in hospital following the explosion, which was felt across several suburbs in the city’s west. All had been discharged by late Sunday.

Blacktown Detective Superintendent Darren Newman said independent experts would attend the site to “get the best information available as to how this occurred”.

“They’ll go through a whole process and they’ll work with our crime scene examiners to make sure that we can thoroughly investigate this,” Newman said.

Choking back tears, Newman said Mhey’s mother was devastated by the loss and that police had been working with her since the collapse.

“Obviously we had to deliver a death message this morning,” he said, describing the incident as difficult and confronting for emergency workers.

“We just do the best we possibly can.”

The police investigation will be a part of a report for the coroner, who was on site on Monday.

Although the cause of the explosion remains unknown, NSW Deputy Premier Prue Car has said she is “deeply concerned” amid reports gas could be a factor.

Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell previously said there had been a leak at the site after the explosion, which hampered rescue efforts.

Dozens of search and rescue technicians, including firefighters who responded to last year’s Turkey earthquake disaster, had been working at the scene.

-with AAP

Topics: NSW
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