A 61-year-old woman has died after an explosion flattened a house in Bury, Greater Manchester.
The woman’s body was found after emergency services were called to reports of an explosion in the village of Summerseat, Ramsbottom, just before 9.30pm on Wednesday.
Three people were treated at the scene for minor injuries and a woman and child were taken to hospital but have since been discharged, police said.
On Thursday, a police cordon remained around a number of houses as investigations continued into the cause of the collapse, which destroyed the second to end house in a terraced row.
Chief Inspector Jamie Collins, from Greater Manchester Police, said the woman who died had not yet been formally identified but officers believed they knew who she was based on the address and inquiries which had been made.
He said: “Approximately 30 surrounding houses were initially evacuated to ensure the safety of those residents but most have now safely returned to their homes, with only those living on the immediate street still evacuated as a precaution.”
— Greater Manchester Police (@gmpolice) February 18, 2021
A joint investigation is under way between police, the fire service, Cadent gas and local authorities, Chief Insp Collins said.
He added: “We are keeping an open mind in regards to the circumstances of this incident and inquiries are ongoing.”
The gas supply in the area has been isolated as a precaution, he said.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service watch manager Steve Wilcock said there was a rapid response to the incident after an initial report of an explosion.
He said: “We attended and quickly located one female who unfortunately has been declared dead.
“At this tragic time we just want to offer our condolences to the family and friends involved.
“Summerseat is a very, very close knit community. It was evident last night and certainly today that communities come together to support each other.”
Wilcock said crews would remain at the scene for the next couple of days and were working to get people back into their homes.
But, he said they were taking a cautious approach and a cordon remained in place.
- Summerseat Incident Update -
There will be a review of the situation this morning where hopefully more information should become available.
This has been a traumatic evening for many in our community and if you need support please contact my office at:
0161 546 0161 pic.twitter.com/ypCGybeL9Q
— James Daly MP (@JamesDalyMP) February 18, 2021
He said firefighters arrived at the scene quickly on Wednesday night.
He added: “Firefighters have worked throughout the night. The weather hasn’t been too kind to us but they’ve done a brilliant job.”
Dramatic images show the remains of the flattened home, with debris littered around it in its garden and in the nearby road.
Local MP James Daly said on Twitter that it had been a "traumatic evening" for the community and urged anyone who needed support to contact his office.
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