Pictured: Toddler, two, who was killed in ‘gas’ explosion in Lancashire

The devastated parents of a two-year-old toddler who died following a suspected gas explosion in Lancashire last night have paid tribute to their ‘beautiful little angel’ today.

Residents said the blast on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham was like a bomb going off and a ‘thunderbolt’, while others compared the destruction – with debris scattered in nearby streets and fields – to the aftermath of the Blitz. 

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said 10 units were called to a row of homes at around 2.40am on Sunday and that a major incident has been declared as firefighters investigate the cause of the explosion. Police began evacuating nearby residents of the town, which is 25 miles north-east of Blackpool. 

George Arthur Hinds, aged two years and 10 months, was killed by the blast, his parents Vicky Studholme and Stephen Hinds revealed in an emotional statement released this afternoon. 

They said: ‘We are devastated at the loss of our beautiful George. He was so precious to us. We have no words to describe how we feel and just want time to ourselves to come to terms with what has happened. Our beautiful little angel grew his wings today.’ Two other people remain in hospital with critical injuries. 

Assistant Chief Constable Joe Edwards of Lancashire Police told the BBC: ‘Shortly after 2.40am this morning emergency services were called to residential properties following a report of a large explosion at the address. 

‘There is significant damage to the houses, at least two have been destroyed and a third is significantly damaged. 

‘As a consequence of that a number of people have been injured. Tragically a young child has been killed as a consequence of what has happened and the thoughts of myself and all the emergency services are with the family at what is a distressing time. Our thoughts are also with those individuals who have been affected by this incident.

‘The information as we know it is that there are four persons that have also been injured in the incident, two of which are seriously injured and two others who remain under medical assessment. There is a multi-agency response in place. At the moment we are in the search and rescue phase. 

‘Our officers across all the agencies are working hard to make the area safe, not only for those in the immediate area but in the local community. That work will continue throughout the day after which we will give you further information in due course.’ 

Ben Norman, the Assistant Chief Fire Officer of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said that fire crews remained at the scene and an investigation into the cause of the blast would be carried out ‘slowly and methodically’.

‘We’ll work to conclude this incident safely and work with support and concern for the local community to ensure they can rebuild and go back to their normal lives in due course,’ he said. 








George Arthur Hinds, aged two years and 10 months, who was killed by a suspected gas explosion in Heysham

George Arthur Hinds, aged two years and 10 months, who was killed by a suspected gas explosion in Heysham

George Arthur Hinds, aged two years and 10 months, who was killed by a suspected gas explosion in Heysham

A major incident has been declared after a suspected gas explosion reportedly destroyed up to three terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire last night

A major incident has been declared after a suspected gas explosion reportedly destroyed up to three terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire last night

A major incident has been declared after a suspected gas explosion reportedly destroyed up to three terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire last night

Emergency workers at the scene of a suspected gas explosion, in which a young child was killed and four people were injured

Emergency workers at the scene of a suspected gas explosion, in which a young child was killed and four people were injured

Emergency workers at the scene of a suspected gas explosion, in which a young child was killed and four people were injured








Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning

Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning

Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning 

The ruins of two terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham completely destroyed by an explosion

The ruins of two terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham completely destroyed by an explosion

The ruins of two terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham completely destroyed by an explosion

The ruins of two terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham completely destroyed by an explosion

The ruins of two terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham completely destroyed by an explosion

The ruins of two terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham completely destroyed by an explosion

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

Emergency services attend to assess the damage to a row of terraced houses in Heysham

Emergency services attend to assess the damage to a row of terraced houses in Heysham

Emergency services attend to assess the damage to a row of terraced houses in Heysham

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

A young child has tragically died following a suspected gas explosion in the middle of the night

A young child has tragically died following a suspected gas explosion in the middle of the night

A young child has tragically died following a suspected gas explosion in the middle of the night








Fundraiser for Heysham blast raises more than £20,000 in four hours

A fundraiser set up in the wake of a suspected gas blast that killed a young child and destroyed three houses has raised more than £20,000 in just over four hours

A fundraiser set up in the wake of a suspected gas blast that killed a young child and destroyed three houses has raised more than £20,000 in just over four hours

A fundraiser set up in the wake of a suspected gas blast that killed a young child and destroyed three houses has raised more than £20,000 in just over four hours

A fundraiser set up in the wake of a suspected gas blast that killed a young child and destroyed three houses has raised more than £20,000 in just over four hours.

Residents of Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire, were woken in the early hours of Sunday by an explosion which left nearby streets and fields covered with debris.

Heather Brandwood set up a GoFundMe appeal after seeing the explosion on the news.

She said: ‘Although we don’t know any of the people personally, we don’t need to know someone’s name or face to help them. 

‘People have really pulled together as a community, it’s really humbling. Anything we can do that might relieve a bit of pressure and a little bit of stress for those involved is worth doing.’

She said residents have been queuing in the car park of her pub the Hurley Flyer in nearby Morecambe to donate clothing and toiletries for evacuated residents. Donations are also being accepted at its sister pub, the Bellflower in Preston.

Both pubs, she added, will provide free food and water to any families that have been left unable to return to their homes.

Ms Brandwood said: ‘We are very conscious that people were evacuated from their homes with immediate effect. We have heard from an elderly couple who left in their pyjamas. There is a woman who is in literally nothing but her nightie.

‘The general public has been fantastic.

‘There are a lot of people who want to do good, but they don’t know how to go about doing it, so by putting something in place, they always rise to the challenge.

‘There is a lot of goodwill in Morecambe.’

Donations can be made here.

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‘Sadly at this time it means there are a number of people whose homes have been affected and therefore they can’t remain in the area. We ask people to have patience and particularly to have the family that have been affected in mind.’  

A Gofundme page set up to help Mallowdale Avenue residents had reached more than £20,000 by 2pm on Sunday.

Heather Brandwood, who manages a pub in Morecambe, set up the fundraiser and told the PA news agency it was ‘humbling’ to see the community pull together in such a way.

She said residents were queuing up in the car park of the Hurley Flyer pub to donate clothing and toiletries to evacuated residents.

‘We are very conscious that people were evacuated from their homes with immediate effect. We have heard from an elderly couple who left in their pyjamas. There is a woman who is in literally nothing but her nightie,’ she said.

‘The general public has been fantastic, and they have risen to the challenge. There is a lot of goodwill in Morecambe.’

Dan Knowles, who lives four streets away, said he thought there had been an earthquake. ‘My wife and I thought there was an earthquake which woke us, the whole house shook,’ he told the PA news agency. 

‘We immediately checked on our kids and got back in bed. We then heard sirens and my wife checked Facebook, when we found out that there’d been a gas explosion. We stayed indoors and switched everything off at the source and then sat up all night worrying.’ 

Another neighbour, Susan Faulkner, said it was ‘like a bomb going off’ and that she still felt shaken. ‘I woke up with this huge bang and I thought someone was breaking into my house,’ she said. ‘The sound really shook me, I’m still quite shaken by it. I’ve never experienced that before.’ 

Emilie Downie, 18, said: ‘It was the loudest bang I’ve ever heard in my life.I was in bed when I heard a flash. I thought it might have been from the power station nearby. Within five minutes the police, ambulance and fire services were here. People were screaming.  

‘It is terrible and so sad that the little boy has lost his life. It’s devastating.’

One neighbour said: ‘We heard a big bang at 2.30am when we were in bed. ‘We looked out of the window to see what was going on and were concerned because our daughter’s house was close to the blast.

‘When we got out, I saw the devastation. It was awful.’

Rachel Smith, 42, said: ‘It seemed like a bomb going off as the whole bed shook. I thought the bed was going to go through the floor. I jumped out of bed and looked outside.

‘It was awful. There was rubble everywhere. Then we heard that the little boy had died.’ Bricks and roof tiles were strewn across streets around 300 yards away.

Incident Commander Martin Dillon said: ‘We were called in the hours of the morning to a building collapse and mobilised 10 appliances and at his height 50 firefighters.

‘Upon arrival we found three properties involved in the blast had collapsed with the explosion. The scenes were devastating but we focussed on rescuing those trapped.

‘The cause of the blast is still being investigated and search dogs will be going to the site.’

Ms Faulkner said that her own Heysham property and others in the immediate area had been damaged in the ‘devastating’ explosion. ‘It was quite a blast, I live quite way down there and part of my side door was blown in, my next door neighbour’s plates were smashed,’ she said.

‘There’s been lots and lots of people and police around and everyone trying to help everybody else. I’ve seen some horrific photographs. There’s debris everywhere, all on the next streets and in the fields. 

‘I think there’s a bit on my roof as well. I’ve been very lucky, when I see what those poor souls have had happen to them it’s devastating. I’m really sad for those people, it’s such a sad thing to happen to them.’ 

One shocked resident said the blast was like a ‘thunderbolt’ and that moments later a woman could be heard ‘screaming for help’. The retired male, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I was woken up this morning by an almighty bang, it was huge. The house shook.

‘I thought we had been struck by lightning, that was my initial thought. I got up and looked out the window and saw loads of people running on the street towards where the sound had come from.

‘I could hear the sound of a woman screaming ‘help, help’. It was a truly awful scene. There were so many people running to help that I thought I would just get in the way if I went down so I stayed inside.

‘The emergency services were here in no time at all and they just kept coming. The entire street was full of police, paramedics and firefighters. There are loads still here. It’s an absolute mess, it’s like the aftermath of the Blitz.’








Neighbours reported that up to three houses were destroyed in the suspected gas explosion

Neighbours reported that up to three houses were destroyed in the suspected gas explosion

Neighbours reported that up to three houses were destroyed in the suspected gas explosion

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

The scene this morning at Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham after a suspected gas explosion

Police have now confirmed that sadly a young child died in the explosion while another four people have been hospitalised

Police have now confirmed that sadly a young child died in the explosion while another four people have been hospitalised

Police have now confirmed that sadly a young child died in the explosion while another four people have been hospitalised

Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning

Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning

Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning

Lancashire Fire said on Twitter that 10 units were called to a row of homes on Mallowdale Avenue around 2.30am on Sunday and that firefighters were searching a collapsed property

Lancashire Fire said on Twitter that 10 units were called to a row of homes on Mallowdale Avenue around 2.30am on Sunday and that firefighters were searching a collapsed property

Lancashire Police said a safety cordon had been put in place and nearby residents had been evacuated in the town some 25 miles north-east of Blackpool

Lancashire Police said a safety cordon had been put in place and nearby residents had been evacuated in the town some 25 miles north-east of Blackpool

Lancashire Fire said on Twitter that 10 units were called to a row of homes on Mallowdale Avenue around 2.30am on Sunday and that firefighters were searching a collapsed property








A major incident has been declared after a suspected gas explosion in Heysham

A major incident has been declared after a suspected gas explosion in Heysham

A major incident has been declared after a suspected gas explosion in Heysham

MP David Morris, who represents Morecambe and Lunesdale, said on Twitter: ‘My thoughts and prayers are with all of the families on Mallowdale Avenue following the incident this morning. Thank you to all of the emergency services who are currently on the scene.’ 

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said in a statement today: ‘Ten fire engines were called to reports of a suspected gas explosion on Mallowdale Avenue in Morecambe. 

‘Upon arrival firefighters found that two terraced houses had collapsed and a third was seriously damaged, and a major incident was declared. 

‘Firefighters rescued five people from the site. Four adults are being treated in hospital and one person, a child, tragically died. Our thoughts are with the family and all those injured at this time. 

‘Two fire engines, the urban search and rescue unit, search and rescue dogs and the air support unit remain at the incident. Search operations continue and we are working with partners to make the area safe and investigate the cause of the explosion.

‘A number of people have been evacuated from their homes and a safety cordon is in place. Road closures are also in place and people are being asked to avoid the area.’  

Lancashire Constabulary earlier confirmed that a young child was killed in the blast and that four other people have been injured, two seriously.

Staff arrange donations at the Hurley Flyer pub in Heysham in the wake of a suspected gas blast

Staff arrange donations at the Hurley Flyer pub in Heysham in the wake of a suspected gas blast

Staff arrange donations at the Hurley Flyer pub in Heysham in the wake of a suspected gas blast

Staff carry bags of donations at the Hurley Flyer pub in Heysham in the wake of a suspected gas blast

Staff carry bags of donations at the Hurley Flyer pub in Heysham in the wake of a suspected gas blast

Staff carry bags of donations at the Hurley Flyer pub in Heysham in the wake of a suspected gas blast

Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning

Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning

Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning

Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning

Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning

Emergency services at Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire this morning

The North West Ambulance Service tweeted that it had also sent units to the scene

The North West Ambulance Service tweeted that it had also sent units to the scene

The North West Ambulance Service tweeted that it had also sent units to the scene

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said 10 units were called to a row of homes on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham at around 2.30am on Sunday and that a major incident has been declared

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said 10 units were called to a row of homes on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham at around 2.30am on Sunday and that a major incident has been declared

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said 10 units were called to a row of homes on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham at around 2.30am on Sunday and that a major incident has been declared

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said in a statement today: 'Ten fire engines were called to reports of a suspected gas explosion on Mallowdale Avenue in Morecambe. Upon arrival firefighters found that two terraced houses had collapsed and a third was seriously damaged, and a major incident was declared'

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said in a statement today: 'Ten fire engines were called to reports of a suspected gas explosion on Mallowdale Avenue in Morecambe. Upon arrival firefighters found that two terraced houses had collapsed and a third was seriously damaged, and a major incident was declared'

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said in a statement today: ‘Ten fire engines were called to reports of a suspected gas explosion on Mallowdale Avenue in Morecambe. Upon arrival firefighters found that two terraced houses had collapsed and a third was seriously damaged, and a major incident was declared’ 

Local MP David Morris tweeted: 'My thoughts and prayers are with all of the families on Mallowdale Avenue following the incident this morning. Thank you to all of the emergency services who are currently on the scene'

Local MP David Morris tweeted: 'My thoughts and prayers are with all of the families on Mallowdale Avenue following the incident this morning. Thank you to all of the emergency services who are currently on the scene'

Local MP David Morris tweeted: ‘My thoughts and prayers are with all of the families on Mallowdale Avenue following the incident this morning. Thank you to all of the emergency services who are currently on the scene’

Electricity North West tweeted that it had paused electricity supplies to the area

Electricity North West tweeted that it had paused electricity supplies to the area

Electricity North West tweeted that it had paused electricity supplies to the area

The force said: ‘We remain at scene of a suspected gas explosion on Mallowdale Ave, Heysham, which has caused two houses to collapse and badly damaged another. Sadly, we can now confirm a young child has died and four other people have been injured, two seriously. Our thoughts are with all those affected.’ 

A neighbour whose home was close to the blast said: ‘We are all fine just shaken and worried about the house as we have no door or windows and the roof’s damaged.’

Another neighbour told the Mirror: ‘It’s blown my windows, front door and roof.’

Taxi driver Anthony Davis, 58, called the blast ‘like a minor earthquake’, telling the Mirror that his caravan shook a quarter of a mile away. 

‘From what we gather it’s taken two or three houses with it,’ he said. ‘We live a quarter of a mile away and it shook our caravan – we thought something had hit it.

‘We’ve got our little granddaughters staying overnight. We didn’t know what it was.’

The North West Ambulance Service tweeted that it had also sent units to the scene, with a priority to ‘ensure people receive the medical help they need as quickly as possible’.

The Service tweeted: ‘Following reports of an explosion on Mallowdale Avenue, #Heysham, we have resources at the scene and we are working with @LancashireFRS and @LancsPolice’.

Electricity North West tweeted that it had paused electricity supplies to the area for safety reasons while the blast was being investigated. 

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