Five people dead following explosion in Leicester

Police say that the incident is not being linked to terrorism

Five people dead following explosion in Leicester

Picture by: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images

Five people were killed when an explosion destroyed a shop in the British city of Leicester, police have said.

Another five people are in hospital, one with serious injuries.

Six fire engines were sent to the Polish shop with two flats above it after members of the public reported a large blast in Hinckley Road at around 7.00pm on Sunday.

During the night search and rescue teams found four bodies in the collapsed building and another body was found on Monday afternoon.

Teams are continuing to carry out a rescue operation and believe more people may be trapped in the building, which was still on fire on Monday morning.

Rescue work was temporarily suspended due to the structural integrity of a neighbouring building, with the search and rescue work due to resume later on Monday afternoon.

Leicestershire Police 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.

"There now five confirmed fatalities and a number of people still undergoing treatment in hospital.

"The building consisted of a shop premises on the ground level and a two-storey flat above it. 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."

He asked anybody concerned about where their family members or friends are to get in contact with Leicestershire Police.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service group manager Matt Cane added: "There's a possibility that people are trapped within any of the voids. But obviously as time goes on, that becomes less likely.

"We are slowly and methodically trying to make the area safe and get into the areas where we could potentially find further casualties."

CCTV showed the moment the blast happened, with debris from the building being blasted across the road to the opposite pavement.

A spokeswoman for Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters were on their way to the scene on Sunday night when police told them a building had collapsed.

She said the two-storey building with a loft conversion - thought to be a Polish grocery shop with flats above it - suffered a "pancake collapse".

Additional specialist search and rescue teams were sent to the scene in Hinckley Road, including two search and rescue dogs.

Police officers said nearby businesses and homes were quickly evacuated and occupants taken to a police station for their safety.

Leicester City Council provided a temporary rest centre near the scene.

Leicestershire Police said: "The cause of the explosion will be the subject of a joint investigation by the police and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service.

"Electricity supply has been cut off for a number of properties in the Hinckley Road area while emergency services deal with the incident."

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service's assistant chief fire officer, Andrew Brodie, hailed the "tremendous effort" of emergency crews to deal with the incident through the "bitterly cold night".