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Five people dead after explosion in Leicester

The cause of the explosion is not yet known, but police have said there is no evidence it’s linked to terrorism.
Feb 26th 2018, 2:25 PM 92,184 30

explosion Emergency personnel at the scene on Hinckley Road in Leicester last night Source: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 2.25pm

FIVE PEOPLE HAVE died after an explosion at a property in Leicester in England last night, police have confirmed.

Five other people have been taken to hospital, one of whom remains in a critical condition.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, East Midlands Ambulance Service and Leicestershire Police responded to reports of an explosion and fire at a building in Hinckley Road at about 7pm.

Rescue work at the scene of the former supermarket has been temporarily suspended due to the structural integrity of a neighbouring building, and the search and rescue work will resume shortly, police said.

The building consisted of a shop on the ground level and a two-storey flat above it. Witnesses told BBC News the shop was previously a Londis but recently became a Polish supermarket.

Hinckley Road, from its junction with Bolton Road to its junction with Woodville Road, remains closed in both directions and motorists are advised to avoid the area.

Power supplies to a number of homes in the immediate area were affected by the incident, but electricity has since been restored to most properties.

leic Emergency personnel at the scene on Hinckley Road in Leicester today Source: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

Angel Namaala, who lives opposite the shop, told the BBC she heard “this big thud, like an earthquake”.

“The building had gone down and people were trying to help where they could by taking the bricks off. But the fire was getting bigger and bigger so people were told to leave the scene,” she said.

‘Not linked to terrorism’ 

Superintendent Shane O’Neill said: “We know the explosion and subsequent fire will have caused considerable concern to residents and business owners in the area and we would like to thank people for their support and patience while teams continue with their work at the scene…

We believe there may be people who have not yet been accounted for and rescue efforts continue in order to locate any further casualties.

“Although the cause of the explosion is not yet known, there is no evidence that this is linked to terrorism.”

Pockets of fire

Matt Cane, Group Manager from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said crews worked through the night, alongside the police and the ambulance service, “tackling the fire and searching the scene in order to locate any further survivors or casualties”.

“There are still pockets of fire in the basement area of the building. We have a significant number of specialist search and rescue teams who are supported by two search dogs, and this level of resourcing is likely to be in place throughout the day.

“It may be some days yet before we will be able to establish the probable cause of the explosion,” Cane said.

Read:’No indication at this stage’ that incident in Leicester was terror related – police

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