POLICE investigating a huge explosion which destroyed a home and killed a 63-year-old man are being assisted by the Health and Safety Executive.

Paul Wilmott, who worked at Leeds Beckett University for 33 years, is believed to have been the victim of the blast on Friday.

According to North Yorkshire Police, a formal identification of the body will take place tomorrow.

In a short statement released to The Press a spokesman for Health and Safety Executive said: "HSE is assisting police with its investigation."

The detached home, in Springwood, Haxby, was reduced to rubble, while neighbouring properties were severely damaged.

Large cracks appeared on the front of the homes next door to the disaster zone, gaping holes remain in the roof and some shattered windows are yet to be boarded up.

Possessions which once stood in the home are now littered amongst wood beams, bricks and mortar.

Police officers and structural surveyors are still on the scene assessing the extensive damage to about a dozen affected homes.

Flowers have been left at the scene by those mourning the tragic events.

Neighbours told The Press Mr Wilmott lived alone in the house and "kept himself to himself".

Speaking at the weekend, Professor Peter Slee, the vice chancellor of Leeds Beckett University, said Mr Wilmott was "a committed colleague".

He added: "We are very saddened to hear of his death and our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time."

Springwood residents described seeing debris, including roof tiles, raining down from the sky seconds after the explosion.

Paul Rhodes, site manager at Headlands Primary School, said he was walking through the school yard when he heard a 'massive boom.'

He said he felt the force hit his body and saw cars rocking and heard their alarms going off.

He added that a glass vase had been flung through the air and landed and smashed on the school property.