Heysham ‘gas explosion’: Three houses destroyed as neighbours woken by loud blast flee

A child was killed and four adults injured after a suspected gas explosion ripped through three homes in the middle of the night.

A major incident has been declared in Heysham, Lancashire, and nearby residents have been evacuated.

Aerial photos show the ruins of a number of properties in the terrace, as emergency workers search through the rubble.

Residents say they were woken by the sound of a blast at around 2.30am Sunday morning.

Lancashire police said in a statement: “We remain at the scene of a suspected gas explosion.

“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 with serious injuries.

“A search of the site is still ongoing with Lancashire Fire and Rescue and North West Ambulance Service also in attendance.

“A safety cordon has been put in place and nearby residents have been evacuated. We are currently working with gas service engineers to make the area safe.

“Road closures also remain in place and people are being asked to avoid the entire area while we deal with this ongoing incident.”

One neighbour, who had to flee his home four doors down from the epicentre of the blast, told the Mirror: “It’s blown my windows, front door and roof.”

Cabbie Anthony Davis, 58, was asleep in his caravan when the blast took place.

“It was like a minor earthquake,” he said. “From what we gather it’s taken two or three houses with it.

“We live a quarter of a mile away and it shook our caravan – we thought something had hit it.

“We’ve got our little granddaughters staying overnight. We didn’t know what it was.”

Other locals also described hearing the blast and thinking there had been an earthquake.

Scott Lancaster said he had been reading the news and jumped out of his seat when the blast occurred.

He said: “It sounded like when you are at a firework display and the final rocket always lets off the biggest loud bang.”

Dan Knowles wrote on Twitter: “There’s been a terrible explosion on Mallowdale Ave in #Heysham sounds disastrous, 3 houses collapsed, praying for everyone.

“We woke about 2:30am and thought it was an earthquake at first. We’re about 4 streets up in Heysham and could feel it.”

Lancashire fire and ambulance services are both in attendance at the scene, which Electricity North West has described as a ‘major incident’.

The North West Ambulance Service tweeted that it had sent units to the scene to “ensure people receive the medical help they need as quickly as possible”.

A neighbour whose home was close to the blast said: “We are all fine just shaken and worried about the house as we have no door or windows and the roof’s damaged.

“The front door blew off completely and it shattered the windows”.

He and his family have had to collect their things and leave.

Lancashire Fire said in a tweet that units were called to a row of terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in the early hours of Sunday and that firefighters are searching a collapsed property. It said it has ten fire engines in attendance.