Hampshire HA house destroyed in lethal gas explosion

A house owned by a housing association in the Hampshire town of Andover was destroyed in a gas explosion which also killed the resident, in the week between Christmas and New Year.

Emergency services found the body of James Kirkby, 48, after the blast in the early hours of 27 December. The property in Launcelot Close was owned by the Aster Group, a social landlord with more than 30,000 homes across Hampshire and neighbouring counties.

The Police are not treating Mr Kirkby’s death as suspicious, while Aster have said the home was leased to a third party and it had an up-to-date gas safety certificate, having been serviced three months earlier.

Residents of neighbouring houses were initially evacuated but were then allowed to return home following structural tests.

By Patrick Mooney, editor