Police find ‘flammable gas cylinders’ in Batley explosion probe

The aftermath of the blast in Batley. Picture: Tony Johnson.
The aftermath of the blast in Batley. Picture: Tony Johnson.

Police tonight revealed new details about the suspected cause of an explosion that ripped through a building in West Yorkshire.

Officers confirmed that a “large number of small flammable gas cylinders” had been found in a flat in the building, on Hick Lane in Batley.

The cylinders are being treated as the likely source of the explosion, with work now under way to try to pinpoint how they came to ignite – and to establish if any criminal offences have been committed.

Five men aged between 35 and 39 were taken to hospital suffering from burns following Wednesday evening’s blast. All of them were today still in hospital.

In a statement this evening, Det Supt Pat Twiggs, from West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “We were able to safely gain partial access to the building yesterday afternoon and commence a detailed forensic search.

“We can confirm the explosion was not caused by a mains gas leak or any utility issue.

“A large number of small flammable gas cylinders in one of the flats is believed to be the source of the explosion.

“Enquiries and further forensic testing will be required to understand how the cylinders came to ignite and if any criminal offences have been committed.

“We anticipate being able to return the premises to the control of the owner today.

“I would like to thank all the residents and nearby businesses affected by the incident for their patience and co-operation whilst police and other emergency services have been conducting their enquires.”

Police have previously said that the incident is not thought to be terror-related.

A cordon today remained in place around the building, although some roads in the area have reopened.