Five people have died after an explosion caused a shop and a home to collapse in the central English city of Leicester.
British police responded to what they said was a “major incident”, after receiving reports from the public of a blast at around 7pm local time, near Hinckley Road, in south-west Leicester.
Another four people remain in hospital following the incident, one with serious injuries.
Police believe there may still be people unaccounted for following the explosion.
There was no suggestion the explosion was terror-related, they added.
Superintendent Shane O’Neill said: “There are four confirmed fatalities at this stage 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.
“Once the site is deemed to be safe, a joint investigation with Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service will begin looking into the circumstances surrounding the incident, which at this stage is not being linked to terrorism.”
Calls came after the building reportedly suffered a “pancake collapse”.
Pictures and videos posted on Twitter showed flames rising from a building in the middle of a parade of shops.
“It’s blown the shop across both sides of lanes and there is carnage everywhere. It rattled doors and windows here,” one witness told The Mirror newspaper.
A picture used by the Leicester Mercury newspaper showed a blaze above the rubble of the destroyed building, which housed a convenience store and a flat above it.
Jesus Christ. Hinckley Rd, Leics. pic.twitter.com/0XlfqY8hL3
— Asa McCoy (@AsaMcCoy) February 25, 2018
“We heard an absolutely massive explosion. It was pretty frightening,” the newspaper quoted an unidentified resident who lives a few streets away.
“We went to look out of the upstairs windows and saw loads of smoke, and then a few seconds later massive orange flames.”