Published Monday 18 December 2023 at 17:37
Following the gas explosion at a residential property on London Road, Blackburn on the evening of Sunday 17 December, here is an update on what we know as of Monday afternoon.
The Council’s Building Inspectors have been on site all day. Representatives of the Health & Safety Executive also attended to start their investigation into what happened. The collapsed roof is hindering investigations to assess the property fully. Demolition contractors are scheduled to attend the property on Tuesday morning to remove the roof, to allow for building inspections to continue.
Council officers have made contact with residents of all eight properties that were evacuated on Sunday night to offer support to those who need it. They have all been able to stay with family or friends. While the building inspection work continues on Tuesday, we can’t yet say when these residents will be able to get back into their homes.
Road closures are still in place in part of London Road and the top parts of Inkerman Street and Blackburn Street, where they join London Road. We expect these road closures to remain in place for some time.
Additionally, first thing this morning, we identified vulnerable adults living in the area and made sure that their social care support was able to get to them, despite road closures.
The exact cause of the explosion is still unknown and enquiries are ongoing.
One man remains in hospital in a stable condition, and his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service officers have spent the day in the area around London road to reassure local residents that there are no further risks of gas explosion.
Blackburn with Darwen Council Leader, Coun Phil Riley, said on Monday afternoon:
I know that what has happened has been a terrible shock and our thoughts are with the man who remains in hospital, and his family.
Above all today we’ve witnessed incredibly strong community spirit in this area with people doing whatever they can to support those affected – and that kindness and compassion has been absolutely wonderful to see.
As a Council, we sympathise with the families who had to be evacuated from their homes. I know they are in a less than ideal situation, with no access to their homes or belongings for now, but I’m thankful that they are all safe. I can reassure them that we are working as swiftly as we can, while following health and safety protocols, to be certain of the safety of neighbouring properties to allow these families home as soon as possible. Council officers are also supporting the family that has lost everything in this awful accident.
I’m full of praise for the work of the emergency services and Council duty officers who responded to this incident very quickly on Sunday evening. My thanks goes to them all.