A young child has tragically died following a suspected gas explosion in the middle of the night that completely destroyed two houses.
Firefighters, police and paramedics scrambled to a street in Heysham, Lancs., at around 2.30am today (Sun) after residents were woken by the sound of a blast.
Police have now confirmed that sadly a young child died in the explosion while another four people have been hospitalised, two with serious injuries.
Dramatic pictures posted on social media show the devastating aftermath of the blast, which collapsed two houses and caused serious damage to a third.
A number of locals have been evacuated from their homes while emergency services deal with the incident.
Lancashire Fire, which sent 10 engines to the scene, said firefighters were searching the collapsed properties, while police have set up a cordon in the area.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: "We remain at the scene of a suspected gas explosion on Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham.
"We were called at 2.40am this morning to reports that a number of houses on the road had collapsed.
"Our officers attended and found two houses collapsed and serious damage to a third property.
"We can now confirm that sadly a young child has died as a result of the incident. The family have been informed and our thoughts remain with them at this distressing time.
"Another four people, two men and two women have been taken to hospital. Two of those people have serious injuries."
The force said a search of the site is ongoing and that officers are currently working with gas service engineers to make the area safe.
Lancashire Fire added: "A major incident has been declared after we [were] called to terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue.
"It has been reported that there has been an explosion at a property and firefighters are searching the collapsed property."
The North West Ambulance Service tweeted that it had also sent units to the scene, with a priority to "ensure people receive the medical help they need as quickly as possible".