Update: London Road gas explosion, Tues 19 December

Published Tuesday 19 December 2023 at 17:59

Here’s our second daily update following the gas explosion at a property on London Road in Blackburn on Sunday evening.

This afternoon, residents of evacuated properties on Inkerman Street and Blackburn Road were allowed back into their homes.

Residents from some of the evacuated London Road properties were given access to their homes for a short time to gather belongings to help make them more comfortable in their temporary accommodation.

We are still unable to say when residents of these properties will be able to move back into their homes as this is beyond our control, however we hope to have a further update for them on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, residents of the two properties adjoining the house where the explosion took place (numbers 84 and 88) and the owner of the business at number 84 could not be given access due to concerns about the safety of their properties.

Today a demolition contractor has removed the collapsed roof of number 86, to allow for the building inspection to continue. Inspectors from the Council and from the Health & Safety Executive have been on site throughout the day. This demolition work will continue on Wednesday.  

While the demolition work was carried out, Electricity North West arranged for a temporary power cut. This affected around 96 homes in the area around London Road, although the power was restored within a few hours.  

The Lancashire Police investigation to establish the exact cause of the gas explosion is continuing.

The man taken to hospital on Sunday evening is still in a stable condition in hospital.

As yesterday, 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 Tuesday afternoon:

The multi-agency response to this incident has been extremely well co-ordinated and I thank everyone for their work and support. I know that everyone is working with the needs of the residents who have been evacuated from their homes in mind, showing real compassion and kindness.

I completely understand the frustration that some of the evacuated residents are currently feeling. I can assure them that we are working as swiftly as we can to make the area safe for them to return to their homes. Our priority is to be certain of their safety before we can allow that to happen, and we are hopeful that we will have an update for them on Wednesday.

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