Child explosion death 'suspicious'

Child explosion death 'suspicious'

Damaged houses at the scene of an explosion in the Shaw area of Oldham (Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service/PA)

The scene of an explosion in the Shaw area of Oldham (Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service/PA)

First published in National News © by

Detectives investigating a massive explosion that killed a child in Oldham are treating the death as suspicious, Greater Manchester Police said.

Two-year-old Jamie Heaton died after what was believed to be a gas blast tore through three houses in Buckley Street reducing them to rubble.

Anthony Partington, who is not related to the toddler, was airlifted to hospital suffering severe burns.

Police said they were aware of rumours about a domestic incident and appealed for information.

Superintendent Neil Evans stressed officers were not called but said: "We are also aware of some rumours within the local community about a potential domestic disturbance in the area last night.

"What I can categorically say is that if that is the case, the police were not called.

"However, if anyone has any information about this, particularly if they think it might be relevant to what happened today, I would urge them to get in touch."

The officer said of the dead child's family: "His loved ones are absolutely distraught and we will provide them with whatever support we can at what is clearly a very difficult and upsetting time.

"This incident has shocked the community of Shaw and I want to reassure them that all emergency services are committed to helping those whose homes are damaged in whatever way we can and to get all others who have been evacuated back home as soon as possible."

Local sources said Mr Partington, 27, was originally from Rochdale. They said he was a qualified joiner but had recently been made redundant.

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