Man dead after house collapses in suspected gas explosion

·1-min read
Firefighters on the scene of explosion  (@jameshjourno/Twitter)
Firefighters on the scene of explosion (@jameshjourno/Twitter)

A man has died after a house collapsed following an explosion.

Authorities have launched an investigation after initially suspecting the cause to have been gas.

The resulting fire spread to a neighbouring house before firefighters brought it under control.

Emergency services were called to Kirkby Avenue in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, at about 1.20pm on Friday.

Lancashire Police confirmed one person died in the incident, believed to be a man in his 50s.

A spokesman said: “His next of kin have been informed and our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.”

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service area manager Tony Crook said the house collapsed at about the time firefighters arrived on the scene.

Mr Crook said: “The fire was severe and spread to next door. We've now suppressed the fire.”

He said specialist urban search and rescue teams and dogs were deployed to search for casualties in the debris of the house.

The cause of the blast was initially believed to be gas, he said.

Barry, a local resident, said his wife heard the explosion and initially thought a washing machine had blown up. “But as soon as we came out the whole of the front of the house had blown out completely and within half an hour it collapsed.” he told BBC Radio Lancashire.

Police said a joint investigation with the fire service was in its early stages and ongoing.

A cordon remains in place around the property and local authority partners are assisting with the welfare of people evacuated from neighbouring properties, the force said.

Additional reporting by PA

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