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Oldham explosion: Child death being treated as suspicious

Report by Genelle Aldred

Detectives investigating a massive explosion that killed a child in the Shaw area Oldham are treating the death as suspicious.

A second person was trapped in the rubble following the blast, a third was unaccounted for and the fourth, a man suffered 80 per cent burns in the incident, which is thought to have been caused by a gas leak.

Superintendent Neil Evans of Greater Manchester Police said: "This is an ongoing search and rescue effort and we are offering our full support to the fire and other emergency services.

"Our main and immediate focus right now is to assist in ensuring those injured in the explosion get any medical assistance that they need."

Greater Manchester Fire Service said more than 30 firefighters were at the scene carrying out a search of the immediate area, including specialist search and rescue teams with a dog, and colleagues from Lancashire Fire Service.

Georgian Ulla, who lives on Buckley Street, said: "All the lights shook, I thought someone was breaking in to begin with.

"First thing that I saw was all the toys on the floor. Apparently there are kids that live in the house."

Shaw ward councillor Mark Alcock said: "An end-terrace house has been completely flattened and properties up to 800 metres away have had their windows blown in.

National Grid issued a statement saying: "National Grid can confirm that it received a report of a smell of gas in the Edmund Street and Buckley Street area of Shaw at 10.40am today.

"This was shortly followed by another call to report that there had been an explosion.

"So far, National Grid engineers have been unable to get into these properties to conduct an investigation but the gas mains in Buckley Street and Chancery Lane have been cut off for safety, around 100 homes in the area have been evacuated."

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