First officer at gas blast scene speaks of 'devastation'

Buckley Street in Shaw was left devestated Credit: PA Images

The first police officer at the scene of the Shaw gas blast has spoken of the "absolute devastation" that greeted him.

Police Constable Paul Darlington said in a statement:

“I, along with a number of colleagues, was first to arrive following the gas blast.

“The scene that greeted us was one of absolute devastation and we quickly identified Jamie’s mum, Michelle, who was shell shocked and in a state of panic.

“As soon as we learnt that Jamie was inside we went in, through the rubble, to look for him.

“As a police officer it is second nature for me to act instinctively. It is something that I did on this occasion. I was not thinking about anything other than Jamie.

“Tragically I found him dead inside and this is something that still haunts me. Despite our best efforts we could not free him from the rubble at that time and I just wish the outcome had been different for him and his family."