Explosion in Shaw

Explosion in Shaw

Exactly one year on from the gas blast our thoughts are with the family and friends of Jamie Heaton, and the people of Shaw today.

Councillor Jean Stretton, Cabinet Member for Co-operatives and Neighbourhoods, who led Oldham Council’s response, has written a blog about her memories of that tragic day and the recovery efforts that followed.

Shortly after 11:15am on June 26, 2012 police were called to Shaw following a report that homes had been seriously damaged in a large explosion.

Oldham Council’s First Response team was notified by Greater Manchester Police at 11:23hrs and our emergency planning arrangements were activated.

A major gas explosion resulted in the tragic death of two-year-old Jamie Heaton and an initial evacuation of around 175 homes. Andrew Partington was later sentenced to 10 years for causing the blast.

The incident resulted in large-scale disturbance to residents in the Buckley Street area, a heavy call on Council resources and major media interest.

Oldham Distress Fund

Oldham Council set up the Oldham Distress Fund to support the residents affected by the explosion in Shaw on June 26, 2012.

The Oldham Distress Fund is a registered charity (registered charity number 225145) which is independently audited. Any administration costs will be borne by the Council and will not come out of the Distress Fund.

Oldham Council donated £100,000 to the official Distress Fund from its revenue resources to help alleviate the immediate distress and hardship experienced by the affected residents.

An award of £125,000 was made to Oldham Council from the Greater Manchester Disaster Relief Fund through Forever Manchester. A full list of donations made to date can be found at

A total of around £300,000 has been donated to the Distress Fund. About £243,000 of this has been committed to affected residents. Payments made to date are £219,000 with £24,000 agreed in principle but awaiting payment.

Applications to the Distress Fund, continue to be approved by Trustees and paid quickly to ensure repairs can be made. So far the fund has successfully helped 91 households to cope with the impact of the explosion and we have received a lot of positive feedback on how the situation was handled.

The support has been very wide-ranging in some cases including paying for significant amounts of household goods to replace goods lost to just one single payment in some cases e.g. an insurance excess.

The fund is currently providing assistance to those who are still looking to move back closer to Shaw – including the transfer of bonds paid for by the Fund.

It is envisaged the Fund will operate for another financial year as requests are still being received and certain building work is still being undertaken on properties.

Residents can still access help.

To apply to the Oldham Distress Fund call 0161 770 7770 or download the application form:

Site update

Shortly after the explosion on June 26, numbers 1-13 Buckley Street were demolished. These were either dangerous or unsafe, or beyond reasonable repair.

Some of these homeowners have settled with their insurers and now established permanent homes elsewhere. 

In March 2013, security was removed from the site leaving robust fencing in place around 1-13 Buckley Street.

The security of homes remains the responsibility of owners or contractors working on individual properties and we do not have timescales for when work will be completed. 

Ultimately Numbers 15 and 17 Buckley Street and 13 Chancery Lane needed to be demolished and are currently in the process of being rebuilt. 

Numbers 19 and 21 Buckley Street have undergone major renovation and are near completion. Some building work continues around the wider area. Planning and Building Control are overseeing the repair and reconstruction works.

Over time residents have complained about some illegal flytipping, misuse of skips provided, contractor parking and disruption around the site.

Oldham Council continues to clean the streets on a weekly basis. We are investigating illegal tipping and are in contact with residents and contractors as issues arise.

Housing and other support issues

Several residents who were initially re-housed out of the immediate area of the vicinity of the blast are looking to move back into Shaw.

In the last month (May/June 2013) the Oldham Distress Fund has received a number of requests for support to this effect.

Advice and support for residents was offered in terms of issues relating to accessing the Distress Fund, housing advice, financial advice, confidential counseling and access to the site.

Distress Fund Policies

The Distress Fund is a registered charity and will have to submit annual returns to the Charity Commission, which will also be published in full on their website for transparency. All financial transactions are audited by the Council’s auditors.

The Trustees are also committed to the following:

  • 100 per cent of the money given to the Distress Fund will be used to support the people affected in Shaw;
  • The money will go directly to where it is needed;
  • No money will be taken by the Council for administration costs;
  • No money will be removed or transferred to other funds;
  • Cost of the clean-up and recovery won’t come from the Distress Fund.


The Trustees of the Oldham Distress Fund are:

  • Councillor Abdul Jabbar;
  • Councillor Jean Stretton;
  • Councillor Howard Sykes.

Substitute Members (below) will attend if any of these are unavailable

  • Councillor Jenny Harrison;
  • Councillor Mark Alcock;
  • Councillor Steven Bashforth;
  • Councillor Rod Blyth.


Oldham Distress Fund