London, Feb 25, 2018 (AFP) -British police responded to a “major incident” that critically injured at least four people on Sunday in Leicester, a central English city, after an explosion and building collapse, according to local authorities.
“There has been a major incident…” local police wrote on Twitter. “All emergency services are currently dealing with this.”
It advised people to avoid the area and added that local roads had been closed.
The Fire and Rescue Service said it received calls shortly after 7:00 pm (1900 GMT) from the public reporting an explosion and a building fire.
It immediately dispatched six fire engines, a spokeswoman said.
“We were en route when the police called to say a building had collapsed,” she added.
Additional specialist search and rescue units were then dispatched, including a search and rescue dog, according to the spokeswoman.
“We’ve got no indication of what the cause is at this moment,” the spokeswoman said.
Four people have been taken to hospital following the incident, the ambulance service said.
City hospital the Leicester Royal Infirmary said it was treating the four patients, who were “in a critical condition”.
It advised people to only attend its accident and emergency department “if absolutely necessary”.
The police spokeswoman also said representatives from gas and electric provider companies were in attendance at the scene, under routine procedures.
Pictures and videos posted on social media showed a property engulfed in flames visible from a distance, with rubble and debris scattered around the street.
Graeme Hudson told AFP he lives close to the scene and felt the blast.
“It was very scary,” he said. “I live five minutes (away)… but my house shook. I went out and saw massive smoke and big flames.
“I quickly went out to see what’s happened,” he added. “(I) didn’t stay for long there because (I felt) unsafe for my 11-year-old son.”
Sources told Britain’s Sky News that initial investigations indicated there was no connection to terrorism.