Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Andover house explosion: Residents return to homes

Collapsed building Image copyright Andy Phillips
Image caption The roof of the property collapsed in the blast

Residents of homes evacuated after a gas explosion in which a man died, have returned to their homes.

The body of James Kirkby, 48, was found in the wreckage of the property in Launcelot Close, Andover, following the blast at about 02:30 GMT on Thursday.

Test Valley Borough Council said most residents had been allowed back to their homes following structural tests.

One household remains in temporary accommodation due to damage to their property.

Neighbours said they were woken up by a "loud bang" in the early hours of Thursday.

Image copyright Andy Phillips
Image caption The explosion happened in Launcelot Close, Andover, at about 02:30 GMT on Thursday

One resident, William Cooper, described looking out of his window and seeing "loads of rubble" and the "skeleton of a house".

Council leader Phil North said all utilities had now been switched on as residents returned following what he described as a "terrible tragedy".

"Once again, I would like to thank all those involved, including the emergency services and local volunteers, for all their help during this difficult time.

"One of Andover's greatest assets has always been its strong sense of community and the way everyone has pulled together over the past few days is a shining example of that.

A police investigation into the circumstances of the explosion is continuing.

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