At least three people have died and more than a dozen are missing after an explosion and fire at an apartment block on the English Channel island of Jersey, Jersey First Minister Christine Moore said on Saturday.
Police declined to speculate on the cause, but residents reported smelling gas the night before the blast. The situation has not been designated as a terrorist incident, although authorities are investigating all avenues.
Jersey State Police Commissioner Robin Smith said local police were alerted to the incident just before 4 a.m. local time, adding that emergency services were called to the scene and extinguished the blaze.
Smith confirmed the three-story building had “completely collapsed” and described the situation as a “devastating scene”.
He said some apartments had been evacuated, adding that 20 to 30 people had been taken to nearby town hall for shelter.
Smith added that a search and rescue operation had begun for those who were unaccounted for.
Jersey is an island territory off the northwest coast of France that is the property of the British Crown but not the United Kingdom itself.