Police name seven as missing from Jersey explosion

Flags lowered on official buildings around island until sunset on December 23

A message left near the scene of the explosion in St Helier, Jersey. PA
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Islanders in Jersey held a minute’s silence for those affected by the fatal explosion in St Helier, as police released the names of seven people missing.

Five people are known to have died in the suspected gas explosion that ripped through a residential block on Saturday.

Flags have been lowered on official buildings around the island until sunset on December 23.

Traffic was stopped as police chief Robin Smith and chief minister Kristina Moore joined the silence held outside the States of Jersey police headquarters.

Uniformed officers, members of the search and rescue team, and key workers bowed their heads.

“The families of seven islanders missing since the incident at the Haut du Mont site on Pier Road have released their identities," a police statement said.

A damaged property near the explosion site in St Helier, Jersey. PA

“The families, supported by officers within the family liaison team, made the decision this afternoon as the recovery operation continues.”

The missing have been named as Peter Bowler, 72, Raymond Brown, 71, Romeu, 67, and Louise De Almeida, 64, Derek, 61, and Sylvia Ellis, 73, and Billy Marsden, 63.

The three-storey Haut du Mont residential block was destroyed in the blast.

Police officers observe a minute of silence outside the States of Jersey Police headquarters. Getty Images

Commercial buildings close to the blast site and Mount Bingham hill reopened on Monday, but a police cordon remains in place on Pier Road and South Hill.

Residents on North Quay Parade, near the scene of the explosion, started returning to their homes.

Several buildings, including the homes of Andy Rawlinson, 54, and Steve McCherry, 60, were damaged by the blast, with windows smashed and debris strewn across their doorsteps.

Mr McCherry said the impact had thrown him from his bed.

Mr Rawlinson said he had been awoken by an “almighty bang” at 4am and now felt “traumatised” about returning home.

“It’s scary, it’s traumatic as well,” he said. “It’s horrible being a few hundred yards away from where people are dying and there’s not a thing you can do.

“People have lost their lives so close to Christmas, it’s so, so sad. I’ve never seen anything like that here. It’s devastating.”

Updated: December 12, 2022, 7:11 PM