By Allegra Goodwin, CNN
CNN – At least three people have died and a dozen are missing after an explosion and fire at an apartment building in the British Channel island of Jersey, the island’s Chief Minister Kristina Moore said Saturday.
Residents had reported the smell of gas the night before the blast, but police declined to speculate on the cause. Although the situation has not been classified as a terrorist incident, authorities are looking into all possibilities.
According to Robin Smith, chief of the States of Jersey Police, local police were made aware of the incident just before 4 a.m. local time. She added that emergency services then arrived on the scene and put out the fire.
Smith confirmed that the three-story building has “completely collapsed,” calling the scene a “devastating scene.”
In addition, he added that between 20 and 30 people had been taken to a nearby town hall for shelter after a number of flats had been evacuated.
For those who are missing, a search and rescue effort has begun, Smith added.
Jersey is an island territory off the northwest coast of France, which is a possession of the British Crown, but not part of the United Kingdom itself.