Massive explosion wrecks flats

Two people have been critically injured in a huge explosion which wrecked a block of flats in Wigan last night (Saturday).

Police said the pair suffered serious burns when two flats collapsed in Blake Close, Worsley Mesnes, at about 9pm on Saturday.

Six other people are suffering from minor burns and the effects of inhaling smoke.

At one time there were 70 firefighters at the scene of the explosion which is believed to have been caused by a gas leak.

Police said specialist teams had searched the building and an investigation into the cause of the explosion had begun.

Officers attended along with the Fire Service and ambulance crews and found the top two flats in a block of three had concertinaed into the ground floor property and had been completely destroyed by the fire.

A large number of emergency services officers were present and the blaze was brought under control by 00.15am by firefighters.

Police officers helped evacuate residents from the neighbouring flats, which are all council-owned, and they are staying at a nearby hotel.

One man suffered serious burns and has been taken to Whiston Hospital where he remains in a critical condition. Another man is being treated at Wythenshawe Hospital for burns and is described as serious but stable. The remaining casualties suffered minor injuries and smoke inhalation.

A full search of the block of flats, including the ground floor flat, was carried out by specialist search and rescue teams and it is not believed there was anyone else inside at the time of the fire.

However, police and firefighters will remain at the scene for the rest of today.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation but at this stage, there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances.