Explosion that killed ‘beautiful’ two-year-old toddler came after gas pipe inside house was cut, police reveal
- Two-year-old George Arthur Hinds died following the blast in Heysham
- Police say detectives and gas experts have discovered cause of the explosion
- George’s parents Vicky Studholme and Stephen Hinds were also injured
- Fundraiser set up to help residents has now brought in more than £50,000
An explosion which killed a two-year-old boy was caused by a gas pipe inside a property which had been cut, police say.
Lancashire Police said detectives and gas experts had discovered the cause of the explosion in Heysham was a gas pipe which had been cut inside number 20 Mallowdale Avenue.
The force said it was now treating the probe as a criminal investigation and inquiries continue into how the pipe came to be cut.
George Arthur Hinds, who was just two years and ten months old, died following the blast at the property on Sunday, May 16, which caused two houses to collapse.
George’s parents Vicky Studholme and Stephen Hinds were also injured but have since been discharged from hospital.
Two other people – a man aged 44 and a woman aged 50 – remain in hospital with ‘critical injuries’.
A fundraiser set up to help the residents of Mallowdale Avenue has now brought in more than £50,000.
George Arthur Hinds, aged two years and 10 months, was killed by the blast on Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire
Emergency workers at the scene of the explosion, in which two-year-old George Arthur Hinds was killed and two people were seriously injured in Heysham
Lancashire Police said in a statement: ‘Detectives, assisted by gas experts, have been carrying out a fingertip search of the scene following the explosion and have now identified the cause of the explosion as a gas pipe which had been cut inside No. 20, Mallowdale Avenue.
‘Enquiries are ongoing into how and why the pipe came to be severed – enquiries which are likely to take some considerable time. The police enquiry is now being classed as a criminal investigation.’
Emergency services had been called to the scene on Mallowdale Avenue at about 2.40am on Sunday, May 16. Officers found two houses collapsed, and a third property had suffered ‘serious damage’.
Detective Chief Insp Jane Webb, of the Force Major Investigation Team, said: ‘My thoughts first and foremost remain with George’s family and loved ones at this time, as well as those others affected by this incident.
Two-year-old George Arthur Hinds, whose parents paid tribute to their ‘beautiful little angel grew his wings’
A roof of one of the homes destroyed in the blast which killed George Arthur Hinds
Emergency workers at the scene on Mallowdale Ave Heysham, on Sunday May 16
‘An incredible amount of work has been done at the scene in a relatively short space of time and as well as identifying the source of the explosion we have also managed to recover some items of George’s, which I know means a lot to his parents.
‘Our focus now is on trying to establish how and why the pipe inside No. 20 came to be cut and those enquiries are complex and lengthy.
‘I would like to thank the community for their help so far and I want to continue to appeal to anyone who may have information which could assist our investigation to come forward and contact us.
‘Even if you think the information you have is insignificant or irrelevant please tell us and we can be the judge.’
Fundraiser for blast raises £51,000
A fundraiser set up in the wake of the blast that killed a young child and destroyed three houses has raised more than £50,000.
Residents of Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham, Lancashire, were woken in the early hours of May 16 by an explosion which left nearby streets and fields covered with debris.
Heather Brandwood set up a GoFundMe appeal after seeing the explosion on the news.
She said: ‘Although we don’t know any of the people personally, we don’t need to know someone’s name or face to help them.
‘People have really pulled together as a community, it’s really humbling. Anything we can do that might relieve a bit of pressure and a little bit of stress for those involved is worth doing.’
Ms Brandwood said: ‘The general public has been fantastic.
‘There are a lot of people who want to do good, but they don’t know how to go about doing it, so by putting something in place, they always rise to the challenge.
‘There is a lot of goodwill in Morecambe.’
Donations can be made here.