'Painstaking' forensic investigation underway as man remains in hospital following Blackburn house explosion

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A number of residents are still unable to return to their homes after a huge explosion destroyed a house in Blackburn.

Emergency services were alerted to a building collapse on London Road shortly before 8pm on Sunday (December 17).

Two people were taken to hospital and around 50 others were evacuated following the explosion.

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One of the men was taken to Royal Preston Hospital to receive treatment for injuries which were not believed to be life-threatening.

He remained in hospital in a "stable" condition on Wednesday (December 20).

The second man was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital with minor injuries. He has since been released.

An investigation into the cause of an explosion in Blackburn is continuing (Credit: Lancashire Police)An investigation into the cause of an explosion in Blackburn is continuing (Credit: Lancashire Police)
An investigation into the cause of an explosion in Blackburn is continuing (Credit: Lancashire Police) | Lancashire Police

Lancashire Police said an investigation into the exact cause of the blast was continuing, but it may "take some time" before they can establish exactly what happened.

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A spokesman for the force said: "While we appreciate that the community want some answers, we are faced with a very complex scene which needs some painstaking forensic investigation and it is likely to take some time before we are in a position to provide those answers.

'We would 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 may not be significant, please come and talk to us and we can be the judge."

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

A terraced house collapsed after a huge gas explosion in BlackburnA terraced house collapsed after a huge gas explosion in Blackburn
A terraced house collapsed after a huge gas explosion in Blackburn | Lee McLean / SWNS

Road closures remain in place on London Road and a "small number" of residents have not yet been allowed back into their homes.

They continue to be supported by the local authority.

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A neighbour said he'd seen two workmen - thought to be plumbers - working on the house before the huge blast.

The man, who wished to stay anonymous, said it looked like a "bomb had gone off" as emergency crews scrambled to the scene.

The tenants of the house, a family that rents the property, are believed to have gone away while repair work was being carried out, the neighbour said.

Debris from the blast was left strewn across the streetDebris from the blast was left strewn across the street
Debris from the blast was left strewn across the street | William Lailey / SWNS

Speaking at the scene, he said: "I only live a few doors away. I heard this loud bang. I thought it might be just kids in the back alley, setting off fireworks

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"We went outside to have a look, and we saw all the neighbours. There were bricks everywhere. The house was totally blown up.

'It looked like a small bomb had gone off. It was chaotic, and there were two cars damaged on the road. There was brick dust and glass everywhere'

"I know everyone in the neighbourhood, and we do know it was a rented house - obviously it was good luck that the family wasn't there.

"But from what I saw on the day, there were two guys in the house doing work. I saw them bringing tiles into the property.

"It looked to me that they were plumbers working on the property."

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An evacuation centre was set up at an education centre nearbyAn evacuation centre was set up at an education centre nearby
An evacuation centre was set up at an education centre nearby | Lee McLean / SWNS

Dramatic aerial photographs show the explosion caused the roof of the property to collapse.

Windows on the crumbling house were also blown out and debris from the blast was left strewn across the street.

Cadent Gas said they did not believe the incident was caused by a gas explosion.

Paula Steer, Network Director for Cadent in the North West said: "At this stage, we do not believe that the explosion is as a result of the gas network, however, it is too early to determine the exact cause and an investigation is currently taking place."

Anyone with information or concerns should contact police on 101, quoting log 1185 of December 17.

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