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Suspected gas explosion kills one man after house collapses

Debris covered a 25-metre radius.

Firefighters were called after an explosion caused a house to collapse (Rui Vieira/PA)
Firefighters were called after an explosion caused a house to collapse (Rui Vieira/PA)

A 48-year-old man has died in a suspected gas blast which destroyed a house.

Detectives are investigating the cause of the blast which shook surrounding houses during the early hours of Thursday in Andover, Hampshire.

Hampshire Constabulary said the man’s next-of-kin has been informed. No other injuries were reported and those listed as living at the address are accounted for.

Andy Phillips, 44, who lives close to the house which has been completely destroyed, said: “We live about 100 yards away, the sound was like a huge clap of thunder that shook and rattled ours and many other houses, damaging some of them.

“The debris covers about a 25-metre radius.”

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An aerial view of the scene in Launcelot Close (Steve Parsons/PA)

He said the property on Launcelot Close, off Kings Arthurs Way, was a shared house for people “getting back on their feet after hard times”.

Chief Inspector Kory Thorne, Test Valley district commander, said: “This is a tragic incident in which one 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.

“Launcelot Close remains closed to the public and we will update you when we are able to reopen the road.”

He said police are working with Test Valley Borough Council and housing associations to ensure local residents are supported after neighbouring properties were evacuated as a precaution.

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A gas engineer and a police worker at the scene (Steve Parsons/PA)

Housing association Aster Group said: “We’re aware that there has been an explosion at a property in Andover which we understand has resulted tragically in a fatality.

“We’re working closely with the emergency services as they carry out their investigations.

“Our senior team is attending the incident and our neighbourhood teams on the ground are already onsite offering help and support to the residents involved.”

Dan Brown, a spokesman for gas distribution company SGN, said: “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.

“We’ll remain on site to support the emergency services to help discover the cause of the explosion.”

PA

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