Angela Rayner said: “My thoughts are with the Wilson family at this time, especially with Mr Wilson who, I understand, was recovering at home from a double lung transplant when the fire and explosion broke out early this morning.

“Everyone in the local community is very shocked about what has happened, but there were some real Ashton heroes today who helped the three members of the family who were in the house at the time.

“Mr Wilson’s wife Hazel, jumped out of a bedroom window and was caught by a neighbour who managed to break her fall, but she has suffered multiple fractures.

“Mr Wilson’s daughter, Danielle, who was sleeping in a loft bedroom, climbed out of the window onto the roof of the house and jumped to safety.

“As I understand it, Mr Wilson, who was clearly very infirm, also managed to jump out onto a mattress which another neighbour had brought to break his fall. He is in a critical condition in hospital and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his wife and daughter.

“This is a terrible, horrifying sequence of events, which of course is now subject to a full investigation by police and the Fire and Rescue services.

“It seems there was a fire of some sort at first, which was then followed by a massive explosion which rocked all the surrounding homes.

“The blast sent glass and wreckage flying everywhere and seven people who were outside at the time, trying to help rescue the family, were injured with lacerations from the glass and flying debris.

“All the agencies are working very closely together to make the area safe and find out what caused this terrible incident.

“I understand that the house and two others on either side of it will have to be demolished.

“The damage caused to the house is horrific. The scene is one of utter devastation. The neighbours showed real community spirit and tremendous bravery to put their own safety at risk to try and help the Wilson family.
“And the people of Ashton are already rallying around to help the family which shows the real strength of local people.”
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