Man dies after house explosion

A man has died after a house collapsed following an explosion.

Emergency services were called to reports of a house fire in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, Lancashire, at about 1.20pm on Friday.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police confirmed one person died in the incident, believed to be a man in his 50s.

The spokesman said: “His next of kin have been informed and our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.”

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service area manager Tony Crook said the house on Kirkby Avenue collapsed at about the time firefighters arrived on the scene.

Mr Crook said: “The fire was severe and spread to next door. We’ve now suppressed the fire.”

He said specialist urban search and rescue teams and dogs were deployed to search for casualties in the debris of the house.

Mr Crook said the cause of the blast was initially believed to be gas.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said a joint investigation with the fire service into the cause was in its early stages and ongoing.

A cordon remains in place around the property and local authority partners are assisting with the welfare of people evacuated from neighbouring properties, the force said.