Copper piping theft ‘led to gas explosion’

Following the gas explosion at flats owned by Liverpool Housing Trust in Richard Close, Runcorn last Thursday, 19 of the 36 affected tenants will move back into their homes today.

Seventeen of the flats immediately above the explosion are uninhabitable and those residents are in the process of being offered permanent accommodation in Runcorn and LHT has started re-housing.

Cheshire Police believe the explosion was caused when copper piping that carried the building's gas supply was stolen from the building.

LHT is working with other housing associations Plus Dane, Riverside, Halton Housing Trust along with Halton Council to find alternative homes for those affected.

Andy Williams, LHT's director of neighbourhood services, said: "This has been such a difficult time for our residents and the families involved and I would like to thank them for their patience and cooperation.

"We're delighted many of them will be able to return to their homes this week while those who are unable to return are being offered permanent accommodation in the area either with LHT or by our colleagues in local housing associations to which we are grateful.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has worked so hard throughout to try and rectify the situation. I'd also like to thank the staff at the Castlefields Community Centre for their support and help during this time – their contribution is very much appreciated."

Ron Sumner, a resident at Richard Close, said: "I'm really keen to get back to my house. I'd like to thank LHT for the way they've handled the situation."

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