Jersey explosion: 7 people who are feared dead named with 9 killed in horror 'gas blast' as bodies pulled from rubble | The Sun
12th December 2022

SEVEN of the nine people feared dead after the massive gas blast in a block of Jersey flats have been named.

Five bodies have been pulled from the rubble after the explosion ripped through the building in St Helier on Saturday.



But, police say there are still four more victims' bodies that are unaccounted for.

Officers have today named seven of the nine people who they fear died in the blast.

ITV reported their names are: Derek and Sylvia Ellis, 61 and 73, Raymond 'Raymie' Brown, 71, Romeu and Louise de Almeida, 67 and 64, Peter Bowler, 72, and Billy Marsden, 62.

The identities of two others have been withheld from the media at their families' request.

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Yesterday police confirmed they had pulled five bodies from the rubble, after their rescue mission became a "recovery" mission.

Emergency services had frantically worked through the night after the "devastating" explosion occurred just before 4am on Saturday.

Robin Smith, chief of police, announced yesterday: "It is with sadness that I am confirming that the search and rescue operation had been moved to a recovery operation.

"The decision was made after a detailed assessment and following the use of specialist K9 units."

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At a press conference, Smith added that the families of the victims were being supported.

He said: "We have moved to a recovery stage, it's a moment to think about the families."

"We have deployed family liaison officers to the families, it's utterly important we are sensitive to their emotions as we begin a meticulous and painstaking search of the debris following the explosion."

He added: "We are not going to be here for days, we are going to be here for weeks and it's important I make that clear.

"It is not going to happen quickly, it's going to happen carefully and sensitively."

Officers cordoned off a large part of St Helier after the explosion, with cops urging people to stay away from the debris-strewn area surrounding Mount Bingham.

The blast was so powerful it was picked up on the British Geological Survey’s earthquake monitors.

The ear-piercing sound was heard across the island with a large plume of smoke seen billowing from the area.

Shattered glass was seen scattered across nearby streets as the force of the blast blew out the windows from surrounding buildings.

A crumpled crane could also be seen near the smouldering remains of the three-storey building that had completely collapsed.

Just hours before the blast the fire service was called to the area, following reports that residents were smelling gas.

Smith confirmed it "looks likely" that the blast was a gas explosion but currently they "do not know".

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Addressing questions about whether their working assumption is a gas explosion, he said: "You look at the pictures and I'm no expert, I look to the left (the fire chief) for the expertise who can say it looks likely that that is the case.

"But, of course, as you often hear the police service saying, we keep all our options open. That seems likely but we do not know is the simple answer."




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