Explosion at flats in Jersey kills one

One person has died after an explosion at a block of flats in Jersey.

About a dozen people are missing and two are being treated in hospital after the explosion on Pier Road in St Helier just before 04:00 GMT.

Searches are underway and Chief of Police Robin Smith said he expected it to take “a number of days”.

“It is a pretty devastating scene… the scene is a very dangerous one for all of our staff,” he said.

He said: “I don’t know the exact number of the flats destroyed, but we have a three-story building that has completely collapsed.

“Described as, from a demolition point of view, probably as a pancake that has just dropped almost sort of straight down.”

Mr Smith confirmed the fire service had attended the scene on Friday night after the smell of gas was reported.

Emergency services said a fire caused by the explosion had been extinguished and the police force said it was using specialist resources to find “anybody trapped in the rubble”.

However, Jersey Fire & Rescue said “pockets of fire” had been discovered in the area.

It confirmed that the South West Hazardous Area Response Team had arrived on the island, alongside an Urban Search and Rescue Team from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service.

Anthony Abbott told the BBC how the flat he shares with his wife had been severely damaged by the explosion.

“We heard an explosion at about four o’clock this morning, we got up and we found it [debris] in the flat, all the windows had been put in, the staircase had been damaged and there was fire everywhere outside,” he said.

“It was very, very distressing.

“There were young children in the flat, we helped them out and we got them down… the housing and everyone are been very good to us at the moment… helping us.”

Mr Abbott added: “I’m a little bit shocked but we are lucky we’re OK.”

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