A major incident was declared today after a gas explosion at a residential area in Heysham, Lancashire
Lancashire Fire said in a tweet units were called to a row of terraced houses on Mallowdale Avenue in the early hours of Sunday and that firefighters are searching a collapsed property.
Residents in Heysham described the noise of the blast as “like a bomb going off” with debris that covered nearby streets and fields.
Police said two people remain in hospital with injuries described as critical.
Speaking to reporters at the scene, Joe Edwards, Assistant Chief Constable of Lancashire Police, said: “Shortly after 2.40am this morning emergency services were called to residential properties following reports of a large explosion at the address.
“There is significant damage to the houses, at least two have been destroyed and a third is significantly damaged.”
“As a consequence of that a number of people have been injured.”
“The information as we know it is that there are four persons that have also been injured in the incident, two of which are seriously injured and two others who remain under medical assessment.”
“Tragically a young child has been killed as a consequence of what has happened and the thoughts of myself and all the emergency services are with the family at what is a distressing time.”
Ben Norman, the Assistant Chief Fire Officer of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said that fire crews remained at the scene and an investigation into the cause of the blast would be carried out “slowly and methodically”.
Lancaster City Council said that Salt Ayre Leisure Centre, in nearby Morecambe, was open as an evacuation centre for any residents who had been affected by the incident.
Resident Susan Faulkner, 74, who lives further down Mallowdale Avenue, said the blast was “like a bomb going off” and that she was still “shaken” by the incident.
“I woke up with this huge bang and I thought someone was breaking into my house,” she told the PA news agency.
“It was like a bomb going off, it was that kind of impact.”
“The sound really shook me, I’m still quite shaken by it. I’ve never experienced that before.”
Ms Faulkner said that her own property and others in the immediate area had been damaged in the “devastating” explosion.
“It was quite a blast, I live quite a way down there and part of my side door was blown in, my next door neighbour’s plates were smashed,” she said.
They painted the town red for Jordan Banks, the Blackpool boy struck by lightning while playing football.
Around 100 were expected to drive in convoy along the Golden Mile, but thousands turned out to honour a little lad who touched the hearts of so many with his passion for giving.
The nine-year-old Liverpool fan’s death sparked an huge outpouring of grief as truckers, bikers and scooter riders joined a seemingly never-ending parade from the Norbreck Castle Hotel down to the football field in Common Edge Road where the tragedy happened during a thunderstorm last Tuesday.
“We’re just stunned,” said organiser Dave Hall, who admitted he never dreamed the response would be so overwhelming.
Crowds lines the streets as the convoy for Jordan took almost an hours to pass Blackpool Tower.
“We expected a good turnout, but nothing like this. It’s absolutely incredible.”
The convoy was so long it took almost an hour to drive past the tower where Jordan’s family watched from the roadside, many of them wearing Liverpool football shirts with Jordan 7 on the back.
Hundreds of bikers from far and wide descended on the resort to ride in a procession of their own to the start line, revving their engines and honking their horns, before joining in the main cavalcade.
Their arrival took the organisers by surprise, with many of the riders admitting they had only decided to join in at the last minute after reading Jordan’s story in the media.
Hundreds of bikers descended on the town to pay their own tribute to Jordan.
One biker, from Manchester, said: “I was mopping my kitchen floor this morning when I got a message asking me to join the convoy. I dropped everything, got my gear on and I was off. It was such a sad story you couldn’t fail to be touched by it.”
Bars along the route played “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as the procession passed by, in salute to the football mad youngster who loved the Reds.
Vehicles were decked out in red balloons, Liverpool flags and club scarves.
On the side of one car was “Fly High Jordan,” another had the words “Jordan the Brightest Star in the Sky.” Even a white Rolls Royce was in the convoy adorned by red ribbons.
The convoy had everything from juggernauts to jeeps.
A giant tractor had a giant football fixed to its front. And a huge truck had a Preston North End shirt fixed to the front with the words: “Jordan – RIP Little Man.”
“Our thoughts are with Jordan’s family and friends. I can’t imagine what they are going through but I hope they can take some comfort from the outpouring of love and support from the whole community.
“Our critical incident team have been at the school offering support to staff and pupils during this difficult time.
“A dedicated space has been created for pupils who require more support and we will do all we can to assist them.
“The flag at the Town Hall has been lowered to half-mast and tonight Blackpool Tower and the Illuminations arches will be lit in red as we know he was a keen Liverpool FC fan.”
Blackpool Tower and the Illuminations were lit up in red for Jordan Banks last night (May 12), as the resort showed its solidarity with his grieving family and friends. Picture by Dave Nelson
‘He was loved by staff and pupils alike’: Headteachers remember ‘bubbly’ boy Jor…
Blackpool Tower added: “Tonight, Blackpool Tower and the Illuminations arches will be lit in red as a tribute to nine-year-old Jordan Banks, a keen Liverpool FC fan, who sadly died after being struck by lightning in Blackpool.
“Our community lost one of it’s brightest lights, so this evening we stand alongside Jordan Banks family, friends and our community to remember a remarkable young man.
“Our sincere thoughts remain with the family, and all affected by this tragedy.
Jordan’s family said the nine-year-old was their “brightest star” and was “wise beyond his years, caring, considerate, generous and so loving”
A special convoy was organized down the Promenade to pay tribute to Jordan Banks
The convoy lined the Promenade (Image: BPL BIble / LancsLive)
A community came together today to pay tribute to nine-year-old Jordan Banks.
A special convoy saw hundreds of vehicles line the Promenade in Blackpool today (May 16) as people paid their respects to the Liverpool FC fan.
Jordan tragically died after being struck by lightning on Tuesday as he played football off School Road.
He was a member of the under-nines team at Clifton Rangers Junior Football Club.
He was also an avid fundraiser, being praised by his hero Liverpool football James Milner for his efforts.
There has been an outpouring of love of tributes from across the country following Jordan’s death, with the convoy being the latest to pay respects.
Preston-based company Vehicle Custom Light Bars arranged the convoy, in line with traffic management, Blackpool Council and Lancashire Police, on Sunday.
The company has previously arranged many convoys to help charities, raise awareness and pay tribute all over the country.
The convoy left at 3pm from the Norbreck Castle Hotel at Queen’s Promenade in the resort, with a rolling roadblock implemented by traffic management teams.
Hundreds of people came out in force to pay their respects to Jordan.
Organising the event, Director of Vehicle Custom Light Bars, Dave Haul, said: “When I heard the news I was absolutely devastated. My seven-year-old boy was playing football on the same day and I just felt so helpless for the family.
“I knew I had to try and so something and this is what we do in our line of work so we got organising. So far over 100 people have said they’ll join which is fantastic.”
Earlier this week, thousands of tributes were left at the playing fields off School Road, as well as outside his local primary school.
Flowers, football shirts and balls were left along with cards and messages of love.
Blackpool Tower also lit up red as the community remembered the nine-year-old.
Lancashire Police also released a statement on behalf of Jordan’s family following the tragedy.
It read: “Yesterday our worlds stopped. We lost the brightest star our beautiful boy Jordan.
“His laugh, that infectious smile, golden curls, he was our everything.
“Wise beyond his years, caring, considerate, generous and so loving. Our love is endless.
“Goodnight beautiful boy. We thank you all for your kind words and support but as a family ask that you respect our wishes and privacy.”
Bosses at the Pleasure Beach have teased ride enthusiasts with a sneak peek within the depths of water ride Valhalla, which is currently undergoing a “reimagining”.
Although not expected to make its debut until 2022, with plans for the project delayed last year due to the pandemic, fans are now speculating about a much bigger revamp than was first anticipated to the Viking inspired adventure.
Designers are remaining tight-lipped on what riders can expect from one of the world’s longest water rides, which opened in 2000.
But a 43-second behind the scenes clip posted to social media gave a glimpse of stripped back sets and large scaffolding around the ride.
A spokesman for the park, which is celebrating its125th season this year, said there are no further updates on the changes “for the time being”.
The video attracted a positive reaction from fans online, with many excited to see one of the park’s top attractions back in action.
Steven Mark posted: “Can’t wait to see what changes are made. One of my favourite rides ever.”
Pleasure Beach boss Amanda Thompson assured thrill seekers on the ride’s closure in 2019 that “Valhalla is here to stay” but has long spoken of the need to make it more sustainable and energy efficient, given its costly operation and high maintenance.
Brave the Adventure – Pleasure Beach boss Amanda Thompson has assured fans the popular attraction will be back next season.
Many of its special effects and props, which include wind, ice, and fire, have been replaced or removed in its 20-year history.
Rumoured new features include fog and high-tech effects
Valhalla – a six minute long water adventure – closed in 2019 and is set to reopen in 2022 after a ‘re imagining.’
Bosses remain tight-lipped for now as to what is in store.
A South Shore road will be shut to traffic while construction work is carried out at a hotel.
Motorists will be diverted away from the site of the Hampton by Hilton Hotel, built on the former Palm Beach Hotel site, on New South Promenade from May 3.
No vehicles will be permitted along the length of The Crescent, New South Promenade, between Wimbourne Place and Harrowside West.
The road closure is expected to be in place for 51 weeks, Blackpool Council said.
A road closure along The Crescent, New South Promenade, is expected to be in place for 51 weeks to allow construction at the Hampton by Hilton hotel.
The construction work comes after Hampton by Hilton developer Create Developments was granted permission to extend the building, provided it paid an extra sum to mitigate parking issues.
Paul Mathison, chief executive of Create Construction, which built and owns the hotel, agreed to pay £10,000 for a traffic regulation order to provide residents only parking as part of a condition of planning approval.
He said they wanted to invest in Blackpool but agreed parking was a problem in the area despite the hotel encouraging its guests to use its car park.
The development will see a four storey extension and an additional 74 bedrooms built on the adjoining public car park where the Warwick Hotel stood until it was demolished in 2016, meaning the loss of 110 spaces.
Hampton by Hilton proposed to increase its car park capacity from 34 to 86 spaces.
A Fleetwood woman is recovering in hospital after life boat crews pulled her from the water at Knott End this morning (Saturday, May 15).
Sea rescue teams were called into action shortly after 2am to help search for a missing woman last seen on the Esplanade in Fleetwood at around 10pm.
Police were alerted to her vulnerable state and coastguard teams from Fleetwood and Knott-End swiftly launched their rescue boats to help find her.
A four-hour search covered the coast from Rossall Point to Fleetwood Nature Reserve but their efforts were hindered by the darkness of the early hours.
Sea rescue teams were called into action shortly after 2am this morning (Saturday, May 15) to help search for a missing woman who was found hours later on the sands at Knott End. Pic: HM Coastguard Fleetwood
But as daylight broke, the coastguard spotted “something” on the far bank of the River Wyre in Knott-End.
Lifeboat crews from Fleetwood investigated and found that it was the missing woman washed up on the sands.
She was pulled aboard and brought to shore in Fleetwood where she was handed to paramedics who gave her emergency treatment and took her to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
A spokesman for HM Coastguard Fleetwood said: “We requested RNLI Fleetwood to launch and investigate and on approach it was evident that this was the missing person.
“The RNLI crew helped the casualty onboard and we greeted them on the shore to assist the casualty to the awaiting North West Ambulance Service who treated the casualty on scene before transferring to hospital.
“A well coordinated search and great team work from all involved resulted in a positive outcome.”
One of the woman’s close friends told the Gazette that it is believed she had been in the water for seven hours before her rescue.
She said: “She’s stable now and they are warming her up, giving her fluids and doing everything they can, but she isn’t critical anymore, thank God.
“Someone was definitely watching over her last night that’s for sure. I was just so grateful for the lifeboats, police and ambulance that helped us all through the night till she was recovered from the water.”
Lancashire Police and North West Ambulance Service have been approached for comment.
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