BREAKING UPDATE: Christmas day death takes toll from Jersey apartment explosion to 10

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12:14 (December 26) – A Christmas day death has brought the number of dead from the gas explosion in the Jersey block of flats to 10.

Kathleen McGinness (73) who died from her injuries sustained in the blast lived in a neighbouring apartment block. Her death was announced by Jersey’s chief of police who confirmed the death toll now stood at 10.

The police have now also released the names of all of the victims, they are:

  • Ken and Jane Ralph (72 and 71)
  • Billy Marsden (63)
  • Romeu and Louise de Almeida (67 and 64)
  • Derek and Sylvia Eliis (61 and 73)
  • Peter Bowler (72)
  • Raymond Brown (71)
  • Kathleen McGinness (73)

Investigations continue to find the cause of the blast which was put down to a gas explosion, however, Jo Cox, Chief Officer at Island Energy, said the flats affected were not connected to the gas network. There has been no further news into the investigation of fire officers who visited the site following reports of a gas smell hours before the blast.

13:30 (December 13) – The death toll from the weekend’s gas explosion in Jersey has risen to seven.

The Police Chief of Jersey Robin Smith said that the number of dead had now risen to seven whilst a further ten still remain missing.

That number is expected to rise as forensics teams continue to search the site.

19:17 (December 12) – Police in Jersey have named seven people who are missing following the weekend’s explosion and fire at a block of flats in the island’s capital.

Five people are known to have died in the explosion that ripped through the three-story Haut du Mont block with at least a dozen thought to be missing.

Those that have been named by the police are: Peter Bowler, 72, Raymond (Raymie) Brown, 71, Romeu and Louise De Almeida aged 67 and 64 years, Derek and Sylvia Ellis aged 61 and 73 and Billy Marsden aged 63.

Police remain on the scene searching for the missing and for clues as to the cause of the explosion, with Police Chief Robin Smith saying it will take weeks and possibly months to sift through the wreckage. He added that the process is “meticulous and painstaking” but that they are no longer looking for survivors.

“We’ve now moved into the recovery phase [of the operation]. So inevitably and tragically and sadly that is the case.”

Police and emergency workers say the site is one of utter devastation scene and that the 40 or so who survived currently being housed in alternative accommodation.

Jersey’s Fire Chief Paul Brown said that residents had smelled gas earlier in the evening and that a fire crew had visited the building. The explosion happened around seven and a half hours later.

acknowledged that something had gone “horribly wrong” and his service will be “cooperating fully” with investigations into the cause of the blast.

He confirmed that the service was called to the building at around 8.30pm on Friday night and had carried out investigations after residents reported smelling gas. The blast took place around seven and a half hours later.

12:25 (December 10) – A large explosion at a block of flats in Jersey has left one dead and many more missing according to reports by the BBC and Sky News.

The explosion which happened this morning Saturday, December 10 has seen the area cordoned off as emergency services work to clear and secure the area.

Robin Smith, Chief Officer at States of Jersey Police, said that the explosion was reported around 4am.

Emergency services that arrived on the scene he said founded extensive damage and “walking wounded”, many of whom have been evacuated to a local hospital.

He added: “There are of course a number of other people that are unaccounted for and therefore a search and rescue operation has commenced.”

Hampshire Fire and Rescue are said to be in contact with the Jersey Fire and Rescue Service to provide assistance with the search for those missing.

It is understood that between 20 and 30 people had been moved to the St Helier Town Hall where they are being cared for.

Kristina Moore, the Chief Minister of Jersey, confirmed the fire at the flats run by Andium Homes  had been extinguished. Andium she said, were working to ensure anyone who has been displaced has somewhere to stay on Saturday night.

She added that the scene would take some days to clear with forensics teams ready to undertake their investigations, that is once the area is deemed safe for them to enter.

Speaking at a press conference Moore said: “Through these difficult times, I think it’s reassuring for everyone to see what amazing strength we have within our emergency services and, again, we just thank everybody who stepped up and came to the rescue and continue to work on the scene.

“This is going to take some days and we will keep everyone updated and fully informed and we will do our very best to ensure everybody is properly looked after.”

More details to follow.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]