Oldham Explosion Treated As Suspicious

27 June 2012, 05:57 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Detectives investigating a massive explosion that tore through a street in Shaw leaving a child dead are treating it as suspicious.

Two-year-old Jamie Heaton was killed and 27 year old Anthony Partington, was left with life-threatening burns after three houses were reduced to rubble.

Greater Manchester Police say investigators are treating the toddler's death as suspicious and said they were aware of rumours that a domestic incident took place in the area of the blast the night before. 

Superintendent Neil Evans  said: 
"What I can categorically say is that if that is the case, the police were not called.

However, if anyone has any information about this, particularly if they think it might be relevant to what happened today, I would urge them to get in touch.''

Firefighters, police and paramedics were called to Buckley Street at around 11.15am yesterday following the explosion which rocked the immediate area and sparked an evacuation of local residents.

Witnesses said the blast left the area looking like a war zone, with emergency workers rushing to the scene and scouring the damaged properties for survivors.

The most badly hit houses were numbers 9 and 11, with search teams discovering the dead body of Jamie inside one of them.

It's believed he lived at number 11 with parents Kenny and Michelle.

Mr Partington, who is not related to the toddler, was airlifted to hospital suffering from severe burns. He remains in serious but stable condition, police said.

Superintendent Neil Evans also said:
"This incident has shocked the community of Shaw and I want to reassure them that all emergency services are committed to helping those whose homes are damaged in whatever way we can and to get all others who have been evacuated back home as soon as possible."

National Grid said it had received a report of a smell of gas in the Edmund Street and Buckley Street area before the blast happened.

Its engineers began testing the gas mains and pipes serving homes in Buckley Street last night and hope to resume tests this morning under the direction of GMP, who are treating the site as a crime scene.

A cordon's still up around the blast site with search teams continuing to pick through the rubble.