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Tributes have poured in for a tragic woman believed to have who died after a massive gas explosion ripped through a block of flats earlier this week.

Reena James had lived on the ground floor of the three-storey building in Bedford which collapsed after the horrifying blast on Monday (July 4).

Neighbours fought to save the 42-year-old from the rubble but were beaten back by the heat of the flames and choking back smoke.

READ MORE: Bedford fire: One dead in huge 'inferno' as police warn 'more bodies' could be found

Other residents had to leap from second floor windows to escape with their lives.

Karina Caetano, 24, was one of those who tried in vain to get to Ms James.

“She was a good friend and always very kind to me," she told The Sun.

Ms James’ brother Peter Masih, 46, revealed that police had confirmed that they'd found a body in her flat but had yet to confirm an identity.

Her father James Mattu added that until that moment came they family would continue to hope she was still alive.

"When we see it is Reena with our own eyes, then we will believe it," said the 75-year-old.

“Police come last night and they spoke to me about my daughter. But they are not sure yet. So, I don’t know what’s going on."

Several people were also seriously injured in the incident – one of whom was airlifted to Addenbrooke's Hospital – which saw multiple teams of firefighters converge on the town's Redwood Grove estate.

Footage shared on social media showed flames and black smoke billowing from the block and emergency services have spent the last few days combing the scene for any more fatalities.

It is not yet known what caused the explosion.

Two heroic bystanders were also praised for being first to try to help those injured.

Bricklayers Michael Moxam, 45, and Mark Waggott, 37, dragged a number of people from the devastation after seeing the billowing smoke from their work van.

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"We found one man in his 50s and one man in his 20s who had jumped out of a second-floor window," said Mark.

"It was pandemonium. The younger guy was face-down and unconscious while the other was screaming in agony with blood on his arm. I think he'd broken his hip.'

Michael added, "One guy said two little girls were in the building but we couldn't get inside. We passed the message on when the firefighters arrived.

"We were worried about another explosion, but in that situation you don't think of nothing but helping people."


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