Blast suspect ‘may have worked on gas boiler in one of houses’

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A MAN arrested on suspicion of manslaughter over a fatal gas blast may have examined a boiler in one of the affected houses in the days before the disaster.

The 32-year-old, from the Shaw area of Oldham, was being held in London but was moved to Manchester yesterday for questioning in connection with Tuesday’s massive explosion.

Police said they understand the suspect may have done some maintenance work at one of the houses in Buckley Street, Oldham.

Two-year-old Jamie Heaton was killed and neighbour Andrew Partington, 27, suffered serious burns as the blast flattened their homes.

Jamie was killed while watching TV in his home but his mother survived after stepping out to hang out washing in the yard.

Local reports suggest there was a problem with the boiler at Mr Partington’s home in the days and weeks before the explosion.

Police have also said they are investigating reports of a row involving the injured man and his partner, mother-of-five Tanya Williamson, who left the family home with her children before the blast.

But senior police stressed that the arrest was only one line of inquiry. Steve Heywood, Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said the exact cause of the explosion had yet to be established, and their approach was to “assume nothing, believe no first account and check everything”.

He added that officers still have “significant questions” for Mr Partington.