Andover house explosion: Man, 48, found dead

  • Published
Media caption,

Police remain at the scene alongside workers from the gas board

A man's body has been found in the wreckage of a house that was destroyed in an explosion.

Neighbours said they were awoken by a "loud bang" when the blast occurred in Andover, Hampshire, at about 02:30 GMT.

Photos from the scene of the collapse in Launcelot Close, off King Arthurs Way, appear to show the remains of a roof on top of a large pile of rubble.

The body of a 48-year-old man was found at the scene. His next-of-kin have been informed.

Following a search, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) said all other occupants had been accounted for.

Residents in neighbouring properties were evacuated, the local council said.

'Skeleton of a house'

Local resident William Cooper said he was awoken by the explosion in the early hours.

"I looked out of the window and there was just loads of rubble," he added.

He said only the "skeleton of a house" had been left following the explosion.

Image caption,
A bathroom wall was blown away in the explosion
Image source, Andy Phillips
Image caption,
The explosion happened in Launcelot Close, Andover, at about 02:30 GMT

Gas firm SGN said its engineers joined the emergency services on site in the early hours of the morning.

"We understand an occupant in the property at the time of the explosion has died and our thoughts are with them and their family," it added in a statement.

"While it is too early to speculate as to what has happened, we're working closely with the emergency services to help identify the cause.

"In conjunction with the authorities, we're currently working to isolate gas supplies to property numbers one and two for safety."

Image caption,
Liam Robinson said he he was "in shock"

Liam Robinson said he only avoided being at home overnight because he was in hospital with a broken hip.

"I'm still in shock. I came back from hospital and the next thing I knew my house was blown up," he said.

"I wouldn't be here right now if I hadn't broken my hip. I've got mixed emotions - I'm happy I wasn't in there."

Ch Insp Kory Thorne, of Hampshire Constabulary, said: "This is a tragic incident in which a man has died, and we are working hard to find out what happened.

"This process will take some time and a cordon will remain in place in the coming days.

He appealed for anyone who had witnessed to blast to come forward.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
An emergency cordon remains in place
Image source, PA
Image caption,
No-one else was inside the building at the time of the collapse

Phil North, leader of Test Valley Borough Council, said: "This is truly devastating and our thoughts are with all those affected."

He said the council had also been on the scene since the early hours and was helping to look after those residents who had been evacuated from their homes at a community facility.

A spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said fire crews had now left the scene.

He said: "We had the one fatality and other persons were soon accounted for. Fire crews have now left the scene and the search and rescue is now finished.

"It is being handed over to police and the gas board are continuing their investigations."

Image source, PA
Image caption,
SGN engineers and members of Test Valley Borough Council are also at the scene
Image source, Andy Phillips
Image caption,
Several homes nearby were evacuated

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