Enquiries underway into cause of suspected gas explosion in Heysham

Enquiries are underway into the cause of a suspected gas explosion at a house in Heysham in which a toddler died.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 4:18 pm

Police were called to the scene of the blast on Mallowdale Avenue at about 2.40am on Sunday, May 16.

Officers attended and found two houses collapsed with serious damage to a third property.

Very sadly toddler George Arthur Hinds aged two years and 10 months, died as a result of the incident.

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Blast site at Mallowdale Avenue. Heysham. Photo: David Hurst

Our thoughts remain with his loved ones at this distressing time.

George’s parents Vicky Studholme and Stephen Hinds were also injured, although thankfully not seriously.

They were taken to hospital but have now been discharged.

In a tribute they said: “We are devastated at the loss of our beautiful George.

“He was so precious to us. We have no words to describe how we feel and just want time to ourselves to come to terms with what has happened. Our beautiful little angel grew his wings today.”

Two other people – a man aged 44 and a woman aged 50 - remain in hospital with injuries described as critical.

Enquiries into the cause of the explosion are now underway and are likely to take some time.

Chief Insp Chris Hardy, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: “This appalling incident has resulted in the loss of a young boy’s life and has left two others with very serious injuries. My thoughts today are with George’s family and loved ones at this sad time, as well as those others affected by this incident.

“While we have today started our enquiries, alongside our partners, into what led to yesterday’s explosion I must stress that we are faced with an extremely complex scene which needs painstaking and forensic investigation. I appreciate that the community are concerned and want answers but I’m afraid it is likely to take some considerable time before we are in a position to provide them.

“I would like to appeal to anyone who may have information which could assist our investigation to come forward and contact us. Even if you think the information you have is insignificant or irrelevant please tell us and we can be the judge.

“I would also ask that people try and avoid speculating about what may have happened and what the cause of this tragic incident may have been and give police and partners the time and space to make the enquiries they need to get to the truth.”

A safety cordon remains in place while safety work and enquiries continue.

A number of residents were evacuated and continue to be looked after by the local authority.

Gas service engineers continue working to make the area safe.

Anyone with any information should contact police on 101 quoting log 0180 of May 16 or on the Major Incident Portal at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/0401020121W04-PO1