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A woman who died in a house explosion was on a FaceTime call to her boyfriend when the blast struck, an inquest has heard.

Hazel Wilcock, 61, died after the explosion tore apart her home in Bury, Greater Manchester on February 18.

The much-loved counsellor had been on the phone at the time, an inquest hearing into her death was told as it opened today.

Rochdale Coroner’s Court heard how the video call suddenly cut off, Manchester Evening News reports.

Police coroner’s officer Jane Scullion told the court: “Hazel was at her home address and was having a FaceTime call with her partner when an explosion took place, causing the phone to disconnect and cut off.

“All emergency services attended the scene.

“Ms Wilcock’s property was completely destroyed and there was damage to two neighbouring properties.

“Ms Wilcock was in a seating position, on the sofa, at the time of the FaceTime call.”

Ms Scullion said that the fire service have gathered no evidence of ‘suspicious activity’.

Other investigations are still taking place.

The court heard Ms Wilcock’s provisional cause of her death after the explosion at her Summerseat home has been recorded as ‘traumatic asphyxia’.

Ms Wilcock was born in Radcliffe and worked as a counsellor at St Ann’s Hospice.

Following her death, chief executive of the hospice, Rachel McMillan said: “Everyone at the hospice is extremely shocked and saddened by the tragic news of Hazel’s death, and our thoughts are with her family and loved ones.

“Hazel had been part of the St Ann’s team for four years as a senior counsellor in our Patient and Family Support Team, working hard to support the people we care for and those closest to them.

“She was a much-loved member of the hospice family, always compassionate, and always focused on ensuring the very best care for our patients.”

Assistant coroner Michael Salt said that an inquest is ‘inevitably needed’.

A date is yet to be fixed for the full inquest but Mr Salt said that the file will be reviewed on May 24.