A father who died in a gas explosion at his home has been described as ‘caring and funny’ by his family.
Carl Whalley, in his 50s, died when his house in Chorley, Lancashire, collapsed following the blast on Friday afternoon.
Emergency services were called to reports of a house fire on Kirkby Avenue in the village of Clayton-le-Woods, at about 1.20pm.
On a JustGiving page to raise money for his funeral costs, Mr Whalley’s family said they feel ‘devastated’ by his death, and it could be ‘weeks or months’ until they find out what caused the explosion.
They said: ‘We appreciate all the kindness and support that the local community has offered us, it really does mean a lot during these difficult times.
‘We would also like to thank the local emergency services for their support.
‘We do not know the cause of the explosion and it will be weeks or months until we find out what actually happened.
‘As a family we are devastated, Carl was such a caring, funny and loveable figure.
‘He would do anything for anyone and he did not deserve this.
‘We aren’t allowed back to our house and as you have probably seen there is nothing to go back to.
‘We would appreciate and donation however large or small it may be, it would go along way towards funeral costs.’
Lancashire Police confirmed one person died in the incident.
A force spokesman said: ‘His next of kin have been informed and our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.’
Tony Crook, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) area manager, said the property collapsed at about the time firefighters arrived on the scene. Nearby residents were evacuated.
He said: ‘The fire was severe and spread to next door. We’ve now suppressed the fire.’
Mr Crook added specialist urban search and rescue teams and dogs were deployed to search for casualties in the debris of the house.
The cause of the blast was initially believed to be gas, but a joint investigation between the police and fire service is in its early stages and ongoing.
A cordon remains in place around the property and local authority partners are assisting with the welfare of people evacuated from neighbouring properties, the force said.
People in nearby properties had been advised to close windows and doors to avoid being affected by smoke.
A police spokesman earlier said: ‘Our officers are at the scene, along with our colleagues from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and the ambulance service.
‘A safety cordon has been put in place and nearby residents have been evacuated.’
Road closures are also in place and people are being told to avoid the area, police said.
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said a number of appliances were at the scene this afternoon.
Neighbour Barry Kemp told The Sun: ‘There was a massive explosion and the house burst into flames. Within 30 minutes the house was burnt to cinder.
‘There was nothing left of it. It sounded like a bomb going off. I have never seen a house collapse so quickly.’
Witnesses said the house caught fire immediately after the explosion.
A spokesman for LFRS previously said: ‘Six fire engines and an aerial ladder platform are in attendance at an explosion involving a house on Kirkby Avenue in Clayton-le-Woods.
‘Please close windows and doors if you’re nearby to avoid being affected by any smoke. Colleagues from Lancashire Police and North West Ambulance Service are also in attendance.
‘A number of neighbouring properties have been evacuated and a safety cordon has been established. Road closures are also in place and people are advised to avoid the area.’
North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) tweeted that the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) had arrived.
NWAS said: ‘We’re supporting the ongoing incident. Our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) is currently on the scene, along with a MERIT doctor, an ambulance and an operational commander.’Internet Explorer Channel Network