News in brief: Gas blast death probe

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POLICE and the fire service are investigating the cause of a gas explosion at a house in Jermyn Avenue, Hackenthorpe, in which a man died.

Dennis Popplewell, who was in his 50s, suffered 90% burns in the blast last Friday at 5.45am and died about 12 hours later in the Northern General Hospital.

Neighbours tried to get a ladder to a bedroom window where Mr Popplewell was standing before he fell. They carried him away from the burning home and looked after him until emergency services arrived.

Lecture theatre drama

STUDENTS were evacuated from the University of Sheffield’s St George’s lecture theatre at the corner of Broad Lane and Mappin Street while armed police scoured the premises for a man suspected of assault.

A police spokesman said after the incident on Monday: “The search proved negative and inquiries are ongoing.”

Bishop rallies diocese

THE Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft, encouraged the Diocesan Synod in Rotherham to consider the possibility of expanding the local Christian community by 20% over the next ten years, which “seems reasonable in the light of our story over the last 50 years”.

It was not “a mission target but a ‘what if’ question. It is important to not become obsessed with statistics and figures but also aim to develop the relationships with those already embedded within our community.”