Derbyshire explosion: husband and wife found dead in wreckage

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Media captionThe BBC's Gerry Jackson reports from the scene of the house explosion

A husband and wife have been found dead in a house in Derbyshire which partially collapsed following an explosion and fire.

Emergency services were initially unable to get into the building in Riddings, near Alfreton, because of the risk of fire and a further blast.

The couple have been named locally as Simon and Shelley Saxton-Cooper.

Chief Inspector Steve Pont of Derbyshire police described the deaths as "an awful tragedy".

Homes evacuated

He said: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the two people who have lost their lives."

The couple's family have been informed, but they have not been formally identified.

The alarm was raised shortly after 07:30 BST when neighbours heard what they described as a "bang".

The emergency services declared a "major incident" and East Midlands Ambulance Service sent its Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) to the house.

David Lovett, from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue, said crews found the building "well alight" and "partially collapsed" when they arrived.

Neighbours were evacuated from their homes as a precaution.

Police said they did not believe there were any suspicious circumstances, but investigations were at an early stage.

Earlier, a force spokeswoman said a leak of gas had not been ruled out as a possible cause.

The HART team is called to deal with chemical, biological, or other hazardous materials at major incidents.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The man and woman were found in a bedroom inside the house
Image copyright PA
Image caption Fire crews used a aerial platform to assess the damage at the house
Image caption Emergency services have been at the scene for most of the day

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