A man aged 50 has died after his house “burned in a fire” following a suspected gas explosion.
Police recovered the body of the youth in the rubble of the collapsed property.
Forensic officials visited the site tonight as police were investigating what caused the massive explosion.
Local residents said the house was engulfed in flames and leveled within half an hour of the explosion, which sounded like a “detonation of a bomb”.
Residents of Kirkby Avenue, a fully residential street in the village of Clayton-le-Woods in Lancashire, fled their homes after the explosion at 1.30 pm.
Police rushed to the scene after receiving information from 999 calls that said a semi-detached house had “collapsed”.
Aerial photos from the street show the scene of the devastation.
Firefighters were seen aiming jets of water at a blackened circle of a property earlier today.
The house was completely torn apart in the blast, while a property next door was badly damaged, with tiles torn from the roof.
Those living in the street said their own homes were “shaken” by the force of the ignition.
Neighbor Barry Kemp reported: “There was a huge explosion and the house caught fire.
“Within 30 minutes the house was burnt to ashes.
“There was nothing left in it. It looked like a bomb was detonating.
“I’ve never seen a house collapse so quickly.”
His wife Ingrid said that she heard an “almighty bang” while ironing.
“I looked out the window and there were flames coming out of the lounge,” she said.
“The windows were blown out. The house quickly caught fire.”
‘Going like a bomb’
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We remain at the scene of a suspected explosion at an address on Kirkby Avenue in Clayton Le Woods.
“Emergency services were called on Friday, October 15 at around 1.30 pm for a report a house had collapsed.
“We can now sadly confirm that one person has died, believed to be a man in his 50s at this stage. His next of kin have been notified and our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.” .
“A joint investigation into the causes of the incident between Lancashire Police and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is in its early stages and is ongoing.
“There is a cordon around the property and local authority partners are assisting with the welfare of the many evicted from neighboring properties.”
The fire service said: “Six fire engines and an aerial ladder platform are involved in an explosion in a house.”
He urged neighbors to “please close the windows and doors” if they are affected by the smoke.
“Several neighboring properties have been evacuated and a security cordon has been put in place,” the spokesman said.
“Roads are also closed and people are advised to avoid the area.”
The ambulance service declined to confirm whether paramedics were treating any casualties.
However, he has confirmed that his Hazard Area Response Team is on the scene with an ambulance and a specially trained trauma doctor.
Locals have taken to social media to express their shock.
A woman living in the opposite house said the explosion “shook the whole place” – adding: “Very scary.”
Another said: “Just passed it – lots of ambulances, firefighters and police.
“Hope all is well.”
Another local resident said he heard the explosion while at work.
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