Neighbors tell of ‘terrible shock’ as investigation into Wythenshawe house blast that killed 91-year-old continues


Neighbors have told of their shock following the death of a 91-year-old man in a house explosion in Wythenshawe. Widower Frank Burton, 91, was found dead in his home following the blast on Brownley Road on Thursday evening.

On Saturday afternoon, a police cordon remained in place at the scene opposite Crossacres Metrolink stop as the investigation into the cause of the explosion continued. A sniffer dog van from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service was parked outside the house, while forensics investigators could be seen inside the property.

Earlier, Mr Burton’s brother Philip told members of the press at the scene he believed the house to be ‘fully electric’ – and that his sibling may have bought a gas appliance to help with the ‘cold snap and anticipating [the] rise in energy bills’. He said he feared any such appliance may have sparked the blast.

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The investigation continues into the cause. Neighbor Simon Duncan said he had known Mr Burton since moving onto Brownley Road 25-years-ago.

Speaking about the dad-of-two, he said: “He was a lovely man. The pigeons at the Civic would come to him as soon as they saw him coming, because they knew they were going to get fed. They would follow him.” about.



Frank Burton

“He was quite well-known in the area because he’d lived here so long. When the kids were little at Halloween he used to decorate all the house and garden. When I heard that Frank had died it quite upset me, it really did.”

Fellow Brownley Road resident Heather Stanley said: “You just don’t expect something like this to happen in this day and age. Unfortunately for Frank, he lost his life. It’s a terrible shock, it’s very sad. He’d lived here for a long time.I just feel for his family.



The investigation into the cause of the blast is ongoing

“I think people are still quite numb to what’s actually happened. Quite a lot of people who live in this row are quite new. It’s a shame that it takes a tragedy like this to bring people together.”

Mr Burton’s family paid tribute to him at the scene on Friday morning, describing him as ‘a character and a good guy’.



A police cordon remains in place at the scene on Brownley Road

His brother Philip told the Manchester Evening News : “I am puzzled because I’ve been led to believe the house was electric. The explosion is typical of gas. Whether that’s mains gas or if he had something in to help with the cold snap and anticipating [the] rise in energy bills, he may have bought something.”

Last night (Friday), gas company Cadent said the gas mains and pipes ‘did not contribute to or cause’ the explosion.



flowers left the scene

Mark Berry, head of customer operations at Cadent, said: “Following a thorough investigation, we can confirm that the gas mains and service pipes in the area are sound and did not contribute to or cause the incident in Brownley Road. The matter now lies with other agencies for further investigation.”

Police had earlier suggested that there were reports of a gas explosion. In a later statement, issued on Friday afternoon, GMP said that the cause is yet to be determined and that investigations are still in their early stages. A number of houses were evacuated and the scene made safe at about 8pm on Thursday.

Detectives have now appealed for anyone with information about the blast to come forward, adding that they believe it to be a ‘contained incident’.

For the latest news, visit the Manchester Evening News website

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www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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