FIRE crews from Cumbria were called to help colleagues in Lancashire tackle the aftermath of a suspected gas leak which took a child’s life and left four people injured.

The cause of the explosion which killed a toddler will likely not be known for “some considerable time”, a police chief has said.

George Arthur Hinds, aged two years and 10 months, died while a 44-year-old man and a 50-year-old woman remain in a critical condition following the incident on Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham, on Sunday.

Emergency services were called at about 2.40am and found two houses collapsed with serious damage to a third property.

A spokesman for Lancashire police said: “We can now confirm that sadly a young child has died as a result of the incident. The family have been informed and our thoughts remain with them at this distressing time.

“Another four people, two men and two women have been taken to hospital with serious injuries.

“A search of the site is still ongoing with Lancashire Fire and Rescue and North West Ambulance Service also in attendance.

“A safety cordon has been put in place and nearby residents have been evacuated.”

Cumbria County Council has issued this advice to help people keep safe and what they should do in the event of a gas leak:

n Use a competent engineer to install, maintain or repair your appliances.

n Ensure that your gas pipework, appliances and flues are regularly maintained.

n Check that all rooms with gas appliances have adequate ventilation – don’t block air inlets to prevent draughts, and don’t obstruct flues and chimneys.

When it comes to general gas issues:

n If you suspect a leak, turn off the supply and immediately call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 for natural gas. For liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), call your LPG supplier.

n If in doubt, evacuate the building and inform the police as well as the National Gas Emergency Service or your gas supplier.

n Do not turn a gas supply back on until a leak has been dealt with by a competent person.

n Check that the room has adequate ventilation – don’t block air inlets to prevent draughts and don’t obstruct flues and chimneys.

In an emergency always dial 999.