Oldham explosion 'suspicious'


Detectives investigating a massive explosion that killed a two-year-old child in Oldham, northern England, are treating the death as suspicious, Greater Manchester Police said tonight.

The child, named locally as Jamie Heaton, died in the blast in Shaw, Oldham, and a man, named by neighbours as Anthony Partington, was airlifted to hospital suffering severe burns. Mr Partington is not related to the toddler.

Dean Nankivell, station manager at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said although the operation at the scene was still being treated as a search and rescue mission, everyone had been accounted for and no one had been found trapped in the rubble as first thought.

Emergency services described the explosion, which damaged a number of terraced properties, as “very serious”.

Police said the emergency services were alerted shortly after 11.15am.

Greater Manchester Fire Service said more than 30 firefighters were at the scene carrying out a search of the immediate area.

Those involved included specialist search and rescue teams, with a dog, and colleagues from Lancashire Fire Service.

Oldham Council said in a statement that it was continuing to assist emergency services at the scene this evening.