Probe into gas explosion that injured 11

INVESTIGATORS are trawling through the rubble today to determine what caused a gas blast that left 11 people injured and four homes destroyed.

The explosion tore through a row of terraced houses in Irlam, Salford, Greater Manchester, at 7.15am and sent flying glass and debris into surrounding streets.

The huge blast caused chaos, rescue crews said, and sparked a painstaking search for residents feared trapped in the rubble.

The search and rescue operation involved scores of police and paramedics, more than 40 firefighters, and dogs from Greater Manchester Fire Brigade’s Search and Rescue Team.

Several neighbouring streets were cordoned off and teams from the National Grid were called in to isolate the gas supply.

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Investigators were trawling through the scene to establish what caused the blast.

But Tim Doyle, chief executive at City West Housing Trust, which owns the properties, said the explosion took place at one of the four homes.

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He said: “At around 7.15am there was an explosion at one of our houses in Irlam.

“We immediately implemented our emergency plan, and we are doing everything to help and support our residents.”

He added: “We can confirm that we have been carrying out improvement works in this area as part of our extensive investment programme, including at this property.

“We are now working with the emergency services on an ongoing investigation into the cause of the explosion.”

Fire liaison officer Paul Etches said: “It has been absolute chaos at the outset and to gather people and the information.

“We are carrying out a systematic search at the moment using our Search and Rescue Team.

“However, there is nobody else reported missing.

“Everybody that came out came out in the very early stages of the incident.

“Search and Rescue haven’t found people buried but that is the process we are going through and can’t say it is clear.

“It is going to be mid to late afternoon, possibly early evening, before we get to any normality.”

Four children and seven adults were treated in hospital.

The most seriously injured was a woman in her 70s who was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital suffering 30 per cent burns.

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