Manchester

Man arrested over Blackley house 'gas' explosion

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Media captionThe explosion destroyed the end terrace house

A man has been arrested following a suspected gas explosion at a house in north Manchester.

The blast reduced much of the end terrace property in Cecil Road, Blackley, to rubble on Monday afternoon.

Two men were taken to hospital. One is critically ill and the other is in a stable condition.

The latter, a 33-year-old man, is being held on suspicion of causing an explosion to endanger life.

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Media captionDrone footage captured the aftermath of the explosion

A 29-year-old man is in intensive care after suffering burns and being "thrown a considerable distance" from the property, police said.

The arrested man suffered burns to his face, arms and hands and will be undergoing surgery.

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Image caption The precise cause of the blast is not yet known
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Image caption Firefighters and technical response units have been in attendance

A third man who lived at the rented property was not at home and a 75-year-old man living next door emerged unscathed but has had to be temporarily re-housed.

Three people were treated at the site of the blast, which badly damaged the house next door.

Residents in surrounding homes were evacuated following the explosion.

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Image caption Crews have been assessing the damage
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Image caption Emergency services were called just before 12:30 GMT

The precise cause of the blast is not yet known but is being treated as gas-related, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue said.

Det Insp Dave Sinclair said: "We are keeping an open mind in terms of the exact cause of the explosion, but based on evidence we have gathered so far, I'm satisfied at this stage we have evidence there is some criminality there.

"This was a devastating incident which has left two people in hospital with serious injuries and destroyed part of a terraced street."

The house is being "treated as a crime scene" and further investigations will be carried out once the site is deemed structurally safe to enter.

Det Insp Sinclair said witnesses had already come forward with "really pivotal" information.

Image copyright GMFRS
Image caption Sniffer dogs are helping ensure no one is trapped in the rubble
Image copyright GMFRS
Image caption Nearby vehicles appeared to have been damaged by the blast
Image copyright GMFRS
Image caption A kitten rescued from the rubble is being looked after by the RSPCA, the fire service said

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