The Northern Echo Camera Club

The Northern Echo Camera Club


Searched all night after deadly explosion hit Jersey

Rescuers in Jersey searched all night for survivors of a “devastating” blast on Saturday that leveled a low-rise apartment building and killed at least three people. Footage from surveillance cameras showed a fireball engulfing the three-storey building in the Channel Island’s port capital of St. Helier, missing several people. The blast hit around 4:00 a.m. (0400 GMT), hours after reports of a gas leak in the Bayside block. “The area will be lit and teams will be working all night tonight and we will not stop for now,” lead firefighter Paul Brown told reporters. Prime Minister Kristina Moore confirmed at least three deaths, noting that Jersey had already been hit by the sinking of a fishing boat this week in which three men were lost. Resident Anthony Abbott said the windows of his apartment were smashed inward by the blast, “and there was fire everywhere outside.” “It was very, very upsetting,” he told the BBC. “I’m a bit shocked but we’re lucky to be okay.” Jersey’s gas utility, Island Energy, said it was working with the fire service to understand what happened. The fire was extinguished, but emergency services were conducting “considerable work” at the scene and the rescue operation could take days, police said. – Tragic week – Jersey Police Chief Robin Smith likened the remains of the home to a ‘pancake’. “There is also damage to a nearby building, another block of flats, which firefighters need to secure,” he said. “It’s a pretty devastating scene, I’m sorry to say.” Smith said earlier Saturday that “about a dozen” people were missing, “but you’ll also appreciate that the number could fluctuate.” Two others were taken to the hospital but later released. Special equipment was mobilized to find people trapped in the rubble, assisted by a southern England municipal search and rescue team, police said. The prime minister expressed his condolences and said residents displaced by the blast had found shelter. “This will take a few days and we will be keeping everyone updated and fully informed and we will do our best to ensure everyone is properly cared for,” Moore said. The incident caps a tragic week for Jersey, a non-UK Crown dependency whose economy relies on banking, tourism and fishing. The Coastguard on Friday gave up searching for three Jersey fishermen who had been missing for almost 36 hours after their wooden boat struck a cargo ship and sank. The freighter is owned by Condor Ferries, whose offices in Jersey are near the destroyed apartment block. “We must draw on the collective strength of the island community,” Moore said. jit/jj

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *