The death toll in an explosion at a block of flats in Jersey has risen to eight, the island’s police chief said.
The blast, which happened at around 4am on Saturday, destroyed a building in St Helier, the Channel Island’s capital.
Eight people have now been confirmed dead, with one person still missing.
Seven of those involved have been named as Peter Bowler, 72, Raymond (Raymie) Brown, 71, Romeu and Louise De Almeida, 67 and 64, Derek and Sylvia Ellis, 61 and 73, and 63-year-old Billy Marsden.
Jersey Police chief Robin Smith said: “I can confirm that, as at 10.30am today, Wednesday 14th December, one further fatality has been confirmed at the Haut du Mont site on Pier Road.
“The number of islanders confirmed to have died in the blast is now eight. We estimate that there is still one resident that is unaccounted for.
“As has been our process throughout, the families have been made aware of this announcement before the public and media and are being supported by our specially trained family liaison officers.
“The fatalities have not yet been formally identified. The disaster victim identification (DVI) process must be carefully considered and managed in a dignified and compassionate way.
“I am sure islanders will continue to join me in giving our thoughts to those victims, their families and friends, in what has been a tragic incident for our island and our community.”
The Viscount’s Office has confirmed that inquests will only be opened once the DVI process has been fully completed.
Mr Smith said on Sunday that the “likely” cause of the explosion was a gas leak – but Jo Cox, chief officer at Island Energy, said the flats affected were not connected to the gas network.
An independent investigation into the island’s fire service is continuing after it was found that officers had been called to the flats at 8.36pm on Friday, hours before the blast.
Paul Brown, head of Jersey Fire and Rescue Service, said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon: “It’s inappropriate for me to talk about anything else on Friday evening because the most appropriate place to do that is through the investigative process, because the only important thing here is the families.
“Ordinarily we would investigate – we investigate hundreds of fires every year – but on this occasion we will commission independent investigators.
“I think it’s important that everybody is absolutely assured about the openness and transparency and the relentless drive for the truth through facts, and that’s why I’m determined that there should be an independent view of the cause of the fire and explosion.
“More practically, this is a large, complex event for a small service like ours. You can imagine all of our resources have been drawn into the response and so there is a resourcing issue there as well.”
Published: 14/12/2022 by Radio NewsHub