One child died and four adults were injured early on Sunday after two houses collapsed in a suspected gas explosion in northwest England, police said.
Police in the county of Lancashire said they were called to the row of terraced houses at 2:40am (0140 GMT) where they evacuated other residents and set up a safety cordon.
“We remain at scene of a suspected gas explosion on Mallowdale Ave Heysham which has caused 2 houses to collapse & badly damaged another,” the Lancashire force said on Twitter.
“Sadly, we can now confirm a young child has died & 4 other people have been injured, 2 seriously. Our thoughts are with all those affected.”
The Lancashire fire department said on Twitter that a major incident had been declared over a suspected gas explosion and firefighters were in the process of searching the collapsed properties.
Local resident Dan Knowles said the sound of the explosion could be heard from his house four streets away.
“My wife and I thought there was an earthquake which woke us, the whole house shook,” he said.
“We immediately checked on our kids and got back in bed. We then heard sirens,” he added, adding that his family had shut their gas off when they learnt the likely cause of the explosion.
The area’s member of parliament David Morris said his “thoughts and prayers” were with local residents. “Thank you to all of the emergency services who are currently on the scene,” he added.