UK/Updated: Death blast is suspicious, police reveal

DETECTIVES investigating a massive explosion that killed a child in Oldham are treating the death as suspicious, Greater Manchester Police said tonight.

DETECTIVES investigating a massive explosion that killed a child in Oldham are treating the death as suspicious, Greater Manchester Police said tonight.

Two-year-old Jamie Heaton died after what was believed to be a gas blast tore through three houses in Buckley Street reducing them to rubble.

Anthony Partington, who is not related to the toddler, was airlifted to hospital suffering severe burns.

The property in Shaw, Oldham, was destroyed and a number of other properties wrecked in the blast which happened around 11.15am today.

Superintendent Neil Evans of Greater Manchester Police told reporters at the scene that rescuers could see one person in the rubble.

He said: “One individual we can see, we are trying to remove debris to get that person out.”

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He added: “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.”

Mr Evans said gas was “one element” the investigation will focus on.

A spokeswoman for the North West Ambulance Service said one patient had been taken by helicopter to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester with 80% burns.

“We are currently assessing the scene and working closely with other members of the emergency services, with our priority being to ensure people receive the medical help they need as quickly as possible,” she said.

“Our primary role is to assess the level and nature of injuries and ensure that those people most in need are treated first and taken to hospital.

“At this stage, we can confirm that we have taken one patient to Wythenshawe Hospital with 80% burns.”

In a statement, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “One man has been rescued following a possible gas explosion in Shaw in Oldham.

“The control room has received numerous calls from members of the public and the initial information from the public is that it involves a number of terraced properties in Duchess Street with possibly people trapped.”

Steve McGuirk, chief fire officer for Greater Manchester, said in a tweet: “Just had an update on the incident in Oldham - very serious, we have crews and search and rescue teams on scene working hard.”

Police said the emergency services were alerted shortly after 11.15am.

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