Emergency services are fighting to rescue people trapped in Shaw homes following a huge explosion earlier this morning.
Shortly after 11.15am police were called to Oldham following a report that homes had been been destroyed on Buckley Street following a potential gas explosion.
Police, fire and ambulance services are at the scene searching for residents who are ‘unaccounted for’.
One person is being treated at hospital for serious burns but officers are unable to confirm how many casualties there are or the number of homes damaged.
Supt Neil Evans said: “This is an ongoing search and rescue effort and we are offering our full support to the fire and other emergency services.
“Our main and immediate focus right now is to assist in ensuring those injured in the explosion get any medical assistance that they need.
“It is unclear how many people may have been caught up in this incident or what the cause is and as soon as we have any new information we will let people know.
“To speculate at this stage would not be helpful to those involved in the incident itself or the rescue effort.”
Greater Manchester Fire Service said more than 30 firefighters were at the scene carrying out a search of the immediate area.
Those involved included specialist search and rescue teams, with a dog, and colleagues from Lancashire Fire Service.
North West Ambulance Service said one person had been taken by helicopter to Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, with 80% burns.
A spokesman said: “We are currently assessing the scene and working closely with other members of the emergency services, with our priority being to ensure people receive the medical help they need as quickly as possible.”
One house at the end of the road has been flattened and reports are that there are people trapped in the homes.
Nearby resident Chloe Wood said: “Massive explosion in Shaw apparently… saw about 20 police and fire engines drive past me.”
Bridget Batty added: “Does anyone know what happened in Shaw this morning? The explosion shook my house!”
COMPLETELY FLATTENED: Homes turned to debris in Oldham explosion
EMERGENCY SERVICES ON SCENE: Crews try to rescue residents
FIREFIGHTERS: Crews in Buckley Street after suspected gas explosion
BLOWN APART: Explosion rips through homes
HOMES DAMAGED: Huge explosion destroys street in Shaw
SEARCH AND RESCUE: Emergency crews look for ‘unaccounted for’ people