Gas explosion in Manchester: elderly man killed in Wythenshawe is named as Frank Burton as family pay tribute

Frank Burton, 91, died following an explosion at a house in Brownley Road, Wythenshawe.

Family members have paid tribute to an elderly man who died after a huge explosion at a house in Manchester.

Emergency services were called to reports of a gas explosion in Brownley Road in Wythenshawe around 6.30pm on Thursday (31 March.)

Frank Burton, 91, was sadly found dead inside the house when they arrived.

A number of houses were evacuated and others were told to stay inside with doors and windows shut. Police say the scene was made safe at about 8pm.

Scene of the explosion in Wythenshawe

Family tributes to a ‘good old fashioned geezer’

Members of Mr Burton’s family attended the scene on Friday morning and expressed their shock at what had happened.

His brother Philip Burton told ManchesterWorld that Frank was a dad of two who used to work in the motor industry.

He described him as a “character”, adding: “He was always very helpful, he was a good old fashioned geezer - a good man...

“He was an old fashioned British eccentric, very industrious, very hard working, tee-total and quite odd in some ways but funny - he had a great sense of humour.”

Brother Phil, Norman and Frank Burton (L-R) Credit: family handout

What have police and the fire service said?

Police and fire officers remained on scene probing the cause of the explosion on Friday.

Fire officers told ManchesterWorld that they were struggling to gain full access to the property as parts of the building were not yet safe to enter. They are working with police and Cadent gas reps on the investigation.

Detective Inspector Matthew Dixon, of GMP’s City of Manchester district, added: “Firstly, my thoughts are with the deceased man’s family.

Frank Burton is pictured on the left with his brother Norman as youngsters Credit: family

“Our investigations with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and the Health and Safety Executive are at an early stage as we try and determine the cause of the explosion.

“It is believed this was a self-contained incident and there is no threat to surrounding properties.

“I would like to thank the people who live in Brownley Road and the surrounding community for their patience on a very difficult night.”

Residents have since been allowed back into their properties and police said properties either side had not been damaged.

Neighbours who heard the explosion said it shook their homes.

Margaret who lives round the corner said: “All I heard was the noise, the big bang and the house shook a bit, so I dived up, looked out the window and I couldn’t see anything so I thought it was a car crash and then I thought that they’d come through the fence.”

Terry, another neighbour, also heard the blast. He said: “I was in the kitchen doing the tea when we heard the big explosion, to me it was an explosion.”