A young child died after a huge gas explosion destroyed Shaw homes today and emergency crews continue their search for a missing Oldham man.
The youngster’s home was destroyed after the blast flattened four homes on Buckley street shortly before 11.15am today.
Police, fire and ambulance services are at the scene searching for one missing man and one man was flown by air ambulance to Wythenshawe hospital with 80% burns.
Supt Neil Evans said: “We are searching for one individual we believe to be in there and we are able to confirm there is a fatality of one child.
“We have informed the child’s next of kin.
“At the moment our priority is to preserve life and we are not looking into causes at the moment but gas is certainly a potential cause.”
The man hospitised was recently engaged to his long-term partner and is a father-of-six.
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.
One house at the end of the road has been flattened.
One nearby resident said: "There had been work carried out on the house six weeks earlier and I've been told it was a gas leak."
HOMES FLATTENED: Gas leak reported to National Grid at 10.40am
HOMES EVACUTED: Hundreds of families are taking shelter in a nearby Asda store
SEARCH AND RESCUE: Dogs brought in to find missing man
CHILD DIES: Police confirmed a young child died during the blast
CHILD FATALITY: Youngster dies after Oldham explosion
COMPLETELY FLATTENED: Homes turned to debris in Oldham explosion
EMERGENCY SERVICES ON SCENE: Crews try to rescue residents
FIREFIGHTERS: Crews in Buckley Street after suspected gas explosion
BLOWN APART: Explosion rips through homes
HOMES DAMAGED: Huge explosion destroys street in Shaw
SEARCH AND RESCUE: Emergency crews look for 'unaccounted for' people