Lancashire explosion: Parents pay tribute to ‘little angel’ killed in early morning blast in Heysham

The parents of a little boy who died this morning after a suspected gas explosion in Lancashire have paid tribute to their "beautiful little angel".

Police were called to the scene of a blast in Heysham at about 2.40am, leaving neighbours in disbelief as attending officers found two houses collapsed – with serious damage to a third property.

Lancashire Police said the boy, named George Arthur Hinds, aged two years and 10 months, died as a result of the incident.

George’s parents Vicky Studholme and Stephen Hinds were also injured, but not seriously.

In a tribute, they said: "We are devastated at the loss of our beautiful George.

"He was so precious to us. We have no words to describe how we feel and just want time to ourselves to come to terms with what has happened. Our beautiful little angel grew his wings today."

Two other people remain in hospital with critical injuries.

The emergency services, local authority and partners remain at the site and a safety cordon is in place.

A number of residents have been evacuated and are being looked after by the local authority, police said, and gas service engineers are working to make the area safe.

At the peak of the explosion, 80 fire officers were on the scene, including two engines from Cumbria.

A GoFundMe page set up to help Mallowdale Avenue residents had raised more than £20,000 in just over four hours.

Heather Brandwood, manager of two pubs in nearby Morecambe, set up the fundraiser and said it was "humbling" to see the community pull together in such a way.

She said people were donating clothing and toiletries to evacuated residents.

"We are very conscious that people were evacuated from their homes with immediate effect. We have heard from an elderly couple who left in their pyjamas. There is a woman who is in literally nothing but her nightie," she said.

Assistant chief fire officer of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Ben Norman, said at the peak of the operations in Heysham on Sunday morning, 80 firefighters and 10 fire engines attended the scene in Mallowdale Avenue.

He said that dedicated teams from Lancashire Urban Search and Rescue had arrived with rescue dogs and that fire crews remained at the scene, with an investigation into the cause of the blast to be carried out "slowly and methodically".

"We’ll work to conclude this incident safely and work with support and concern for the local community to ensure they can rebuild and go back to their normal lives in due course," he said.

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