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Man dies as house collapses after explosion in Lancashire

Man dies as house collapses after explosion in Lancashire
An investigation has been launched into the cause of the blast

A man has died following an explosion that caused a house in in Lancashire to collapse.

Shortly after 1.20pm on Friday, emergency services were called to reports of a house fire in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, Lancashire.

Eight fire engines attended the scene, alongside an urban search and rescue team, search dogs, Lancashire Police and North West Ambulance Service. Air support was also provided by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

Tony Crook, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service area manager, said that the house had collapsed around the same time that firefighters arrived at the scene.

He said: “The fire was severe and spread to next door. We’ve now suppressed the fire”.

He added that a number of neighbouring properties had been evacuated, and a safety cordon established around the area.

Speaking on BBC Radio Lancashire, one neighbourhood resident said: “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”.

The Lancashire Constabulary confirmed that one person had died in the incident. A spokesperson said: “We can now sadly confirm that one person has died, believed at this stage to be a man in his 50s. His next of kin have been informed and our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time”.

A joint investigation into the cause of the explosion has been launched and is in its early stages, but Mr Crook said that bas was initially believed to be responsible for the blast.

A safety cordon remains in place around the property and authorities have been assisting with the welfare of those who have been evacuated from neighbouring properties.