Man thought missing from Rochdale house explosion found dead in car – one day after devastating blaze

By Danielle Wainwright

A man whose house was destroyed by an explosion in Rochdale was found dead in a car in Heywood – only a day after the blast.

Maurice Fletcher was pronounced dead at the scene after officers were called to Green Lane at 10.30am on July 31 only one day after his house was destroyed.

The 57-year-old was reported missing after the War Office Road blast on July 30 and firefighters and a rescue dog searched through the house blast rubble believing the man may have been trapped.

He was eventually safely found in a different location, yet found dead the next day. There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances.

Detective Inspector Andrew Aston from Rochdale police said: “We have launched an investigation into the cause of the explosion which has left three people without a home.

“My officers and I are taking this extremely seriously, if anyone has any information about the incident, I would urge you to contact us as soon as possible.”

The explosion caused four flats to collapse and two men, 63 and 36, and a woman, 74, escaped with injuries.

Detectives are now investigating the cause of the fire on the grounds of criminal damage and it is believed that somebody had knocked a flammable substance which later ignited.

Anyone with any information should call police on 0161 856 9961 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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