Emergency workers search through night as dozen missing in Jersey flat explosion as death toll rises

Residents of the flats have been moved to St Helier Town Hall, where they are being supported.

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Emergency services have continued to work through the night after an explosion at a block of flats in Jersey left three people dead and a dozen more missing.

The Jersey government tweeted a video of firefighters and specialist rescue teams, including a dog, on the scene in St Helier on Saturday night.

The footage captured some of the devastation and debris behind the cordon – including piles of rubble, crushed cars and a blown out window in the neighbouring building.

The government said: “We’re on site coordinating a methodical and meticulous multi-agency search effort.

“This involves a number of stages, including vacating the site for short periods to allow dogs to enter, and the careful movement of debris.”

It added further updates will be provided on Sunday morning.

Earlier, Jersey Fire and Rescue Service’s chief fire officer, Paul Brown, told a press conference that specialist rescue teams from areas like the Isle of Wight and Hampshire had been drafted in to help with the response.

He said: “The plan is that we will continue searching and we have no other plan at this stage.

“We are just continuing to search and most of our efforts at the moment are about organisation and logistics of securing the right support at the right time, and making sure that the right equipment arrives in the right sequence.”

“The area is being lit and teams will be working tonight, all night, and we will not stop for the time being,” he added.

Mr Brown also spoke about the caution they are taking, saying: “The primary challenge is the fact that we have a dangerous structure that has collapsed.”

“Anything that we do, or do in the wrong way, may then jeopardise the chance of survival of anyone who might be rescued,” he added.

Chief Minister Kristina Moore told the press conference that at least three people had died, describing the incident as an “unimaginable tragedy” for the Channel Island.

Meanwhile, States of Jersey Police chief officer Robin Smith said that around 12 people were missing, adding: “My hope, of course, is that the number is a lot less.”

The police chief said it was a “protracted incident” that could “go on for days, maybe weeks”.

He described said the scene in St Helier as one of “tragedy” and “complete devastation”.

Meanwhile, Mr Brown confirmed that firefighters had been called to the building at 8.36pm and had carried out investigations – just hours before the huge blast.

Andium Homes, a state-owned but independent company which rents out thousands of properties on the island, said it is focusing on supporting residents at the estate.

Gas supplier Island Energy said it was working with the fire service to “understand exactly what has happened”.

Residents of the flats have been moved to St Helier Town Hall, where they are being supported.