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Death toll in Jersey fire rises to 5; 4 still missing


LONDON — The number of people killed in the explosion and fire at an apartment building on the Channel Island of Jersey has risen to five, with four others still missing, police said on Sunday.

Jersey Police Chief Robin Smith said specialist teams were continuing a thorough search in the area of ​​St. Helier, the island’s capital, and warned it was likely to be weeks before investigations are not completed.

“There are still a number of residents, we are working on the hypothesis of four, who remain missing,” he said. “Their families were informed of this announcement before the other islanders. They continue to be supported by special officers.

An explosion destroyed a three-story building in St. Helier around 4 a.m. Saturday. Smith said the fire was “probably” caused by a gas explosion, but that has yet to be confirmed.

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.

Authorities said on Sunday that the search mission was now a “recovery operation” and that they no longer expected to find anyone alive.

“We’ve moved into a recovery phase, it’s a time to think about families,” Smith said.

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.

Gas supplier Island Energy said it was working with firefighters to “understand exactly what happened”.


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