LONDON — An explosion and fire at an apartment building on the Channel Island of Jersey killed one person and left several missing on Saturday, police said.
Robin Smith, the Chief Constable of the States of Jersey, told a news conference that ‘a dozen’ residents were missing following the blast in the town of St Helier .
Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, is a self-governing dependency of the United Kingdom located off the coast of northern France in the English Channel.
Smith said a three-story building “completely collapsed” and a nearby building was also damaged. He described the scene as “devastating” and warned there could be more deaths.
Smith said firefighters were called to the area the previous night after residents reported the smell of gas.
He said police would investigate “whether or not there was a safety issue” with the natural gas lines.
Police said in a statement that while the fire was put out, emergency services were carrying out “extensive work” at the scene.
Authorities have advised Jersey residents to only seek emergency hospital treatment in the event of an actual medical emergency and to avoid the area of the blast, which has been cordoned off.