At least three people have died and a dozen are missing after an explosion and fire at an apartment building on the British island of Jersey, the island’s chief minister, Kristina Moore, said on Saturday.
Police declined to speculate on the cause, but residents had reported smelling gas the night before the explosion. The situation has not been classified as a terrorist incident, although authorities are investigating all leads.
Local police were alerted to the incident just before 4 a.m. local time, Jersey States Chief of Police Robin Smith said, adding that emergency services then responded to the scene and extinguished the fire.
The three-story building “completely collapsed”, Smith confirmed, describing the situation as a “devastating scene”.
He said a number of flats had been evacuated, adding that between 20 and 30 people had been taken to a nearby town hall for shelter.
A search and rescue operation for those missing has begun, Smith added.
Jersey is an island territory off the northwest coast of France, which belongs to the British Crown, but is not part of the United Kingdom itself.