Police chase man after apartments are destroyed in huge explosion

Police are searching for a man after an explosion at a building in Lancashire.

Emergency services rushed to the scene of the incident on Tanfields in Skelmersdale around 6.07pm on Tuesday May 17. Responders found two apartments completely destroyed with “significant” damage.

Five people inside managed to get out of the building safely before help arrived and 15 people were evacuated from the area. None of them were seriously injured.

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A man later went to Ormskirk Hospital with burns, police said. They are not life threatening.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the blast, which Lancashire Police say is being treated as “unexplained”. Officers are keeping an “open mind” about what happened.

In an update, the force confirmed that a 29-year-old Darlington man had been arrested in connection with the incident. He is questioned on suspicion of production of a class B drug and origin of an explosive substance likely to endanger life or cause serious injury.

Detectives now want to speak to Robert Nolan, 40, of Skelmersdale, as part of the investigation. They posted a photo of him and asked anyone with information to come forward.

Emergency services at the scene of Skelmersdale

He is described as white, about 5ft 8in tall, of slim build and speaking with a Liverpool accent. Police also want to speak to anyone who saw anything suspicious that day, or captured footage of suspicious vehicles on CCTV, dash cam or doorbell cameras.

DC Sean Reddington of South CID said: “This incident has caused significant damage to property and displaced a number of people. Our investigation is ongoing to establish the cause of the explosion and we are asking people to verify any footage they may have covered the area to see if they captured anything that would help us in our investigations.

“Although we keep an open mind as to the cause of the explosion, we have made an arrest. We now need to speak to Robert Nolan as we believe he can help us with our investigations. We would ask anyone sees or knows where he is to contact the police as soon as possible.

Anyone with information is asked to email the police or call 101, quoting newspaper 1311 of May 17, 2022.

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