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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 18:44 GMT 19:44 UK
Two dead after flooding accident
Tewkesbury Rugby Football Club, 26 July 2007
Police discovered the two men in a basement
A father and son have died after they tried to pump water from a flooded rugby club in Gloucestershire.

Bramwell Lane, 64, and son Chris, who was in his 20s, may have been overcome by fumes while using a petrol-powered pump at the Tewkesbury club.

The fire service has warned of the risks of using certain pumps indoors.

Meanwhile, 140,000 households in Gloucestershire remain without water after a treatment plant flooded, and health and sanitation fears persist.

Severn Trent Water says the army is helping to plan the refilling of mobile street dispensers, or bowsers, amid complaints that some have been running dry.

The BBC has received messages from residents in Gloucester and Cheltenham about the difficulty of locating bowsers with water in them.

I'm having trouble getting to water as I don't drive and have three small children and I can't get to supermarkets to get bottled water
Samantha, Gloucester

The police, meanwhile, said there had been some selfish behaviour among some residents trying to find water.

Earlier the director of Severn Trent Water, David Wickens, said it had proved difficult to navigate the large tankers used to refill the bowsers through smaller streets, and added there was a shortage of tanker drivers.

Gloucestershire Police were called to Tewkesbury Rugby Club, on Gander Lane, at 0750 BST after it was reported that two people pumping water there could not be contacted.

Members of the emergency services entered the building and found club treasurer Mr Lane and his son dead at the scene.

The Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service warned that petrol pumps should always remain outside.

We have a team of crews who can pump out properties, so there is no need to take any unnecessary risks
Chief fire officer Terry Standing

Chief fire officer Terry Standing said anyone with any doubts about removing flood water should call the service on 01452 729 340.

"We have a team of crews who can pump out properties, so there is no need to take any unnecessary risks," he said.

"There are also safety issues where people's electricity supply has been affected by flood water - please do not reconnect power supplies until they have been checked out by a professional electrician."

Tewkesbury Rugby Football Club member Mark Allen paid tribute to Mr Lane.

"Bram was basically the backbone of Tewkesbury Rugby Club," he said. "If anything needed doing Bram was always there, early hours of the morning, late at night. Basically, he was just a great guy."

Severn Trent Water - which says it could take a week to restore tap water to some homes in Gloucestershire - says some 10,000 homes in the Tewkesbury area should have mains water for washing and flushing toilets by Thursday night.

It has warned residents they must not drink the water - even if they have boiled it - but can use it for baths, showers and flushing toilets.

Stomach bug risk

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said the total number of flooded properties could eventually reach 15,000.

But along the River Thames in Oxfordshire and Berkshire, fears of more flooding have eased after levels appeared to have stabilised overnight on Wednesday.

However, the Environment Agency still has three severe flood warnings in place - two on the Thames around Oxford, and one on the Ock, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

Flooding in Oxford
Fears of flooding along the River Thames have eased

The Health Protection Agency says the risk of contracting any illness is generally low, but people are advised to avoid coming into direct contact with floodwater.

There is a small risk that people may contract a stomach bug if they come into contact with contaminated water, especially where there has been mixing with sewage.

The BBC Weather Centre said most places would have a quiet night with a dry start to Friday.

June was the wettest on record in the UK, with July heading the same way.

In other developments:

  • Farmers have warned that British-grown produce, including potatoes, peas and strawberries, could be in short supply because of floods and wet weather

  • The Red Cross flood appeal has so far raised more than 500,000. The Queen, who is patron of the charity, has made a personal donation
  • The government has given a series of undertakings that flooded areas will not be forgotten over the Commons summer recess, including a weekly conference call between MPs and the environment secretary

  • In Tewkesbury, police have said Mitchell Taylor, 19, who has not been seen since leaving a bar in the town at the height of the floods on Saturday, is still missing

Environment Agency floodline: 0845 988 1188

Flood map
The Thames: Severe warnings affecting Eynsham to Sandford Lock and also Little Wittenham
The Ock: Severe warnings from Charney Bassett to Abingdon

Gloucester fire service on dangers of flood water


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