Child killed in Shaw explosion
Reporter: Stephanie Shuttleworth and Shauna Botrel
Date online: 26 June 2012
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has confirmed that there has been one fatality in today’s Shaw explosion (26 June), believed to be a 2-year-old boy, Jamie Heaton, and that the family are aware.
Earlier today there was growing concern that people may still be trapped inside their houses. GMP has confirmed that there is at least one man still trapped. They said: “Our priority is to try and preserve life.”
Martin Dawson, who was driving through the area along Milnrow Road at the time of the explosion, said: “There was a bang that shook my wagon, and a piece of roofing from one of the houses flew 20 feet into the air. I was driving near the Weavers pub and now there’s nothing left.”
Marjorie Coopinger’s house was damaged by the explosion, she said: “I was covered in glass, it was such a shock. It blew my front door off!
"A girl ran out of her house, her baby was covered in glass and now they won’t let us back in.”
Ms Coopinger described the police response: “They got here very quickly, their response was fantastic. The police have been marvellous rescuing people.”
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, who was in a Westminster Hall debate at the time of the explosion, is travelling to Shaw immediately to visit the scene and those affected by the blast, she said: "This is a shocking incident and my thoughts are with the casualties and their families.
"I am in close contact with the emergency services and will continue to monitor the situation."
Local residents reported smelling gas last night, however, nothing was done about the issue until the suspected gas explosion this morning.
Three houses on Buckley Street, near Shaw town centre have been destroyed and many more have sustained significant damage in the suspected gas explosion. The surrounding homes and businesses including the Hollywood Private Day Nursery and the Weavers Return pub have since been evacuated.
Residents will not be allowed back into their homes this evening. Overnight shelter will be provided at Crompton House CofE School in High Crompton.
Large areas of the town centre have been cordoned off by the police and there is restricted access to areas surrounding the incident.
GMP had been attempting to manage the large number of growing crowds all afternoon, who had gathered from around the town centre. They have since implemented a cordon in Shaw centre, for safety issues members of the public are not able to enter it.
The effects of the explosion were felt from as far away as High Crompton and Royton.
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