A CHILD has died and four people have been injured after a suspected gas explosion in Lancashire.
A major incident was declared in Heysham, Lancs, in the early hours this morning after three homes were destroyed in the devastating blast.
Lancashire Police said they were called to the scene of the explosion at 2.40am after reports that "a number" of houses on Mallowdale Avenue had collapsed.
The force later confirmed the death of a child, adding that two people were also seriously injured.
In a statement on Twitter, police 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 & four other people have been injured, two seriously.
"Our thoughts are with all those affected."
Lancashire Fire said on Twitter that 10 units were called to a row of homes in the area at around 2.30am and that firefighters were searching a collapsed property.
Several residents of the area tweeted that up to three houses had collapsed, and emergency services sirens had been heard near the scene.
One neighbour, who fled his home four doors down from the epicentre of the blast, told the Mirror: "It's blown my windows, front door and roof."
Dan Knowles, who lives four streets away from the explosion, 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."
Local MP David Morris, who represents Morecambe and Lunesdale, wrote 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."
The North West Ambulance Service said earlier they had a priority to "ensure people receive the medical help they need as quickly as possible".
Meanwhile, Lancashire Police wrote on Twitter: "We are currently at the scene of a suspected gas explosion on Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham.
"A safety cordon has been put in place and nearby residents have been evacuated.
"Road closures are in place and people are being asked to avoid the entire area at this time."
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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