Death toll in Jersey apartment fire rises to 7

LONDON (AP) — The death toll in an explosion and fire at an apartment building on the English Channel Island of Jersey has risen from five to seven, police said Tuesday. Two people remained unaccounted for.

The blast, which took place early on Saturday morning, destroyed a three-storey apartment block building in St. Helier, the self-governing island’s capital.

Police chief Robin Smith said the bodies have not yet been formally identified.

On the weekend Smith said the fire was “likely” caused by a gas explosion, but that has not yet been confirmed. Officials said the fire service had been called to the area the night before the explosion, after residents reported smelling gas. Smith said police would investigate “whether or not there was a safety issue” with natural gas lines.

But Jo Cox, chief officer at Island Energy, said the apartments affected were not connected to the gas network. The supplier said it was working to understand what happened.

Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, is a self-governing dependency of the United Kingdom located off the coast of northern France in the English Channel.

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