A man has died after a house collapsed following an explosion in Lancashire. Emergency services were called to reports of a house fire in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, at about 1.20pm on Friday.
A spokesman for Lancashire constabulary confirmed that one person had died in the incident, believed to be a man in his 50s. The spokesman said: “His next of kin have been informed and our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.”
Lancashire fire and rescue service area manager Tony Crook said the house on Kirkby Avenue collapsed at about the time firefighters arrived on the scene. Crook said: “The fire was severe and spread to next door. We’ve now suppressed the fire.”
He said specialist urban search and rescue teams and dogs were deployed to search for casualties in the debris. Crook said the cause of the blast was initially believed to be gas.
Gas firm Cadent confirmed that it had attended the incident to assist fire crews, but said it was too early to say what the cause was.
Neighbours were evacuated from homes as police closed roads and set up a cordon. One told BBC Radio Lancashire: “My wife thought a washing machine had blown up until we went outside and the whole of the front of the house had blown out completely.”
A police spokesperson added: “Our officers are at the scene, along with our colleagues from Lancashire fire and rescue service and the ambulance service. A safety cordon has been put in place and nearby residents have been evacuated.”
They said a joint investigation with the fire service was in its early stages.
PA Media contributed to this report.