Homeowner, 91, killed in house gas blast may have been using new heater bought in bid to beat energy bill hike, his brother believes

  • Philip Burton said Frank may have purchased a new device to ‘help with the cold’
  • He warned it may have been left on and sparked the huge explosion at the house
  • His grieving family today visited the derelict home in Wythenshawe, Manchester

Frank Burton, 91, died in the gas blast in Wythenshawe, Manchester

A 91-year-old homeowner killed in a house gas blast may have been using a new heater to try to beat the energy bills hike, his brother has said.

Philip Burton said Frank may have purchased a new device to ‘help with the cold snap in anticipation of rising energy bills’.

He warned it may have been left on and sparked the huge explosion at the property in Wythenshawe, Manchester, yesterday.

It comes as the family watched on this morning as fire crews investigated the destroyed home this morning. 

Philip, 71, said he had not spoke to his brother for a while because he was deaf and being blown out of his bed during the Blitz in Manchester.

Paying tribute to his brother, who lost his wife Brenda a decade ago, he told the MeN: ‘He was good character and a good guy.’

He continued: ‘Frank was in the motor industry, he used to do body work and was highly skilled and respected. He was a dad-of-two.  

A 91-year-old homeowner killed in a house gas blast may have been using a new heater to try to beat the energy bills hike, his brother has said

Philip Burton said Frank may have purchased a new device to ‘help with the cold snap in anticipation of rising energy bills’

He warned it may have been left on and sparked the huge explosion at the property in Wythenshawe, Manchester, yesterday

‘This is a chap who when he was working once went ballooning over the Grand Canyon. He was an occasional visitor to Las Vegas.

‘I haven’t been able to reach Frank for some time, he was deaf. He was deaf because he got blown out of bed during the War during The Blitz in Manchester.’

He added: ‘The explosion is typical of gas. Whether that’s mains gas, or if he had something in to help with the cold snap and anticipating rise in energy, he may have bought something.’

It comes as the family watched on this morning as fire crews investigated the destroyed home this morning

Philip, 71, said he had not spoke to his brother for a while because he was deaf and being blown out of his bed during the Blitz in Manchester

Frank was found dead inside the house after the gas explosion at around 6.30pm last night.

Witnesses reported a huge bang that caused other properties to ‘shake like an earthquake’.

All three windows at the front of the home as well as the front door were blown out by the blast. Smoke marks also streaked across the building.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service evacuated a number of houses and several properties had their power cut while surrounding roads were shut.

GMP said that it was carrying out investigations and officers were supporting Frank’s family.

Frank was found dead inside the house after the gas explosion at around 6.30pm last night


Witnesses reported a huge bang that caused other properties to ‘shake like an earthquake’

Mark Threader, borough commander for Manchester for the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, and Mark Dixon, Detective Inspector at GMP, both spoke from the scene and said that investigations were in the early stages.

Mr Threader said: ‘As things stand at the moment, we are in the phase of making the premises safe so we can carry out investigations.

‘GMFRS, GMP and Cadent gas are working closely together to try and find out what caused the incident.’

DI Dixon added that he had been told by the fire service that the incident was ‘isolated’.

He said: ‘This was specific to that premises and there is not a wider risk to other properties. We’re keeping an open mind and exploring all lines of enquiry.’

GMP said the scene was made safe at about 8pm and a cordon remained in place this morning.

It comes as the cost of living crisis bit further today as energy bills skyrocketed due to an increase in the price cap.

From the start of the month, a raft of tax rises and reductions in state pandemic support also increased costs for businesses their customers.

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