Parents pay tribute to 'little angel' killed in Lancashire explosion

ITV News Granada Reporter Video Sarah Rogers reports on the explosion that ripped through properties early Sunday morning

The parents of a two-year-old killed in a suspected gas explosion in Heysham, Lancashire have paid tribute to their "little angel".

George Hinds died when the explosion ripped through three homes in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Four other people have been injured, with two in a critical condition in hospital.

The toddler's parents Vicky Studholme and Stephen Hinds also suffered injuries in the blast.

In a statement, they paid tribute to their son: "We are devastated at the loss of our beautiful George."

The parents of George Hinds said: 'Our beautiful little angel grew his wings today.' Credit: Lancashire Police

It continued: "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."

A major incident had earlier been declared by emergency services in the early hours.

Ten fire crews and six ambulances were among those sent to the scene on Mallowdale Avenue at around 2.30am on Sunday, with firefighters searching the collapsed property.

The explosion devastated three homes and left debris across the street

North West Ambulance Service said: "We treated five casualties at the scene. Four people were taken to hospital, two with serious injuries, and sadly a young child has died as a result of the incident.

"Our sincere condolences are with their family and loved ones."

"Our thoughts remain with all the residents of Mallowdale Avenue and surrounding areas who are affected."

'Everyone was screaming - I could hear someone screaming for help'

Dan Knowles, who lives four streets away from the explosion, said he thought there had been an earthquake.

"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 and my wife checked Facebook, when we found out that there'd been a gas explosion. We stayed indoors and switched everything off at the source and then sat up all night worrying."

Lancashire Police said a safety cordon remains in place and nearby homes had been evacuated.

Electricity North West tweeted that it had paused electricity supplies to the area for safety reasons while the blast was being investigated.

North West Ambulance Service thanked neighbours for their patients and emergency service colleagues for their continuing hard work.

David Morris, the MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, said "My thoughts and prayers are with all of the families on Mallowdale Avenue following the incident this morning. Thank you to all of the emergency services who are currently on the scene."

A nearby pub, the Hurley Flyer has already helped to raise more than £20,000 for families affected by the explosion on a GoFundMe page.