He was always smiling: Oldham family pay tribute to toddler killed during horrific Shaw explosion

By Dean Wilkins

The family of a Shaw toddler killed in a ‘suspicious’ explosion in Oldham are paying tribute to him.

Two-year-old Jamie Heaton died while playing inside his home on Buckley when the large blast ripped through at least five homes on Buckley Street.

Jamie’s death is being treated as suspicious by officers investigating the catastrophic incident and a 27-year-old man remains in a serious condition in hospital with 80% burns.

The young boy’s family said: “Jamie was a happy loving little boy – precious son to Michelle and Kenny and loving little brother to Jodie and Jack.

“Jamie’s life was full of laughter. He loved going to preschool, playing with sand and water and going to the park. He touched the hearts of all who knew him and will be missed by all.”

A thorough search and rescue operation was led by GMFRS following the incident and no one else is believed to be missing or significantly hurt following the incident.

A large number of other houses remain within the cordon and need to be properly examined by structural engineers before residents can be allowed to return.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood, said: “Being local to the Oldham area I am personally saddened by this incident, which has claimed the life of a young and much loved boy and brought scenes of devastation to Shaw.

“As tragic as this incident is, I take heart from the overwhelming response from the local community and businesses, all of whom have shown great strength in adversity, and GMP and our partners will continue to support them in whatever way we can.

“I know many of the dozens of displaced residents are eager to return home. If we could make that happen straight away we would but I hope they understand that not only is this now a crime scene, the general area is just not safe at this time.

“As soon as we are able to get residents safely back into their houses we will do so.

“We have already mentioned that we are aware of a domestic incident taking place on Monday evening and I would again reiterate that this is not something we responded to at the time but is what we are being told.

“This forms part of our ongoing investigation but I need to stress that we do not know the cause of the explosion and to speculate is not helpful to anyone.

“If anyone has any information at all that may help the investigation and has not yet spoke to us, please do so.”

Anyone with any information can call police on 0161 856 8959, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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