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Oldham explosion: Man arrested over Jamie Heaton death

image captionJamie was watching TV when the explosion happened

A 32-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after the death of a toddler in an explosion in Oldham, Greater Manchester.

Jamie Heaton, two, died in the blast on Tuesday when he was watching television at his home in Buckley Street, Shaw.

His neighbour Andrew Partington, 27, suffered severe burns in the suspected gas explosion.

Earlier, Jamie's parents paid tribute to their son describing him as a "happy, loving little boy".

In a statement they said he was a "precious son" to Michelle and Kenny and a loving little brother to Jodie and Jack.

'Significant questions'

"Jamie's life was full of laughter," they said.

"He loved going to preschool, playing with sand and water and going to the park. He touched the hearts of all who knew him and will be missed by all."

Jamie's mother Michelle had been in the back yard at the time of the explosion, hanging out washing.

Her husband Kenny and two other children, Jodie and Jack, were not at home.

A Greater Manchester Police (GMP) spokesman said: "A 32-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter following the death of a two-year-old boy in an explosion in Oldham."

Earlier, the force said it was waiting to question Mr Partington and that officers had "significant questions" to put to him.

image captionTwo houses in Buckley Street were destroyed in the blast

Police are at his bedside at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester waiting to be given the go-ahead by doctors to question him. They said he remained in a serious but stable condition.

Steve Heywood, Assistant Chief Constable of GMP, earlier told a press conference: "We have had some information to suggest it may not be accidental so we are treating it as a suspicious death and therefore a homicide investigation is undertaken."

National Grid has said the blast was not caused by a gas pipe leak.

The massive explosion destroyed number 11 Buckley Street, where Jamie lived, and number nine, where Mr Partington lived.

It is understood Mr Partington had only moved into the property about six weeks ago.

Flowers were left in tribute at the edge of the police cordon still in place around the devastated streets at the centre of the blast.

More on this story

  • Oldham explosion: Jamie Heaton died 'as he watched TV'