Search and rescue operation continues at site of blast that injured six
Fire crews have been working through the night.
A “search and rescue” operation is continuing at the scene of a suspected explosion and subsequent fire which left six people injured, two of them critically.
Emergency services remain at the site of the blast in Leicester on Monday morning, after fire crews worked through the night digging through rubble and battling the blaze.
Police had declared a major incident on Sunday night, and six people were taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Two were said to be in a critical condition while the other four were described as “walking wounded”.
Video taken at the scene on Hinckley Road shows flames billowing into the night sky as the fire engulfed what is believed to be a convenience store.
One clip appeared to show emergency services rushing to help someone close to flames that were visible from a distance.
The building appears to have stood next to a shop called TJ’s Takeaway.
Andrew Brodie, the assistant chief fire officer for Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, tweeted that conditions were “arduous” for firefighters as they worked through a “bitterly cold night”.
But he praised their “tremendous effort”.
Thanks for all your good wishes. Fire crews continue to search the debris pile and fight fire. Conditions are arduous on a bitterly cold night but their efforts continue unabated alongside @EMASNHSTrust and @leicspolice— Andrew Brodie (@LFRSABrodie) February 25, 2018
Speaking to Sky News, Kat Pattinson, who lives on the same road as the fire, told how her “whole house shook” when the blast happened.
She added: “We checked on our children first and foremost and then we went outside.
“There is just an awful lot of smoke here at the moment and the whole area is cordoned off.”
She added that the shop on fire is usually open until about 9pm on a Sunday, and has a flat above it.
Update on Hinckley Road fire, #Leicester:— Leicester's Hospitals (@Leic_hospital) February 25, 2018
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust can now confirm that six people were taken by @EMASNHSTrust to Leicester Royal Infirmary from the scene. Two of these patients are in a critical condition, while four are walking wounded. https://t.co/iSgObNNw21
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue said it began receiving calls from concerned members of the public at 7.03pm.
A spokeswoman said six fire engines had been requested and that the affected property was a two-floor building with a loft conversion that had suffered a “pancake collapse”.
0200 | HINCKLEY ROAD BUILDING FIRE | ROAD CLOSURES | There are road closures in place on Hinckley Road, Leicester between the junctions of Woodville Road & Bolton Road. The roads will be closed for some time and are likely to cause disruptions so please plan journeys accordingly.— LeicestershirePolice (@leicspolice) February 26, 2018
Hinckley Road was closed between the junction with Woodville Road and Westcotes Drive, while Carlisle Street was also shut.
Witness Tahir Khan said: “I was driving past when it happened.
“Loads of people were gathered and there was gas and flames coming out of the building.
“I looked on the road and half the building was on the road. Literally the whole of the side of the building had been blown out.
“I couldn’t believe it, it was like a Hollywood movie.”
In regards to the building fire on Hinckley Road, the cause will be subject of a joint investigation by us & @LFRSFireControl. We ask that you don't speculate about the circumstances surrounding the incident, but at this stage there is no indication this is terrorist related.— LeicestershirePolice (@leicspolice) February 26, 2018
BBC journalist John Alexander said: “I live about 80 yards away from where it happened.
“I felt a tremor, what felt like an earthquake shock and I heard a very low boom that sounded like a very, very fast release of pressure.
“I thought my house was going to fall down on top of me and all my neighbours have said the same thing.
“I saw one guy get pulled out and he’ll be very lucky if he wasn’t killed.”
Police say an investigation will take place to establish the cause of the fire, but say there is currently no indication that it is terrorist-related.