More details are emerging about a gas explosion which destroyed a block of 20 flats in Bedford.
At least one person died after a huge fire at the flats in Redwood Grove, with emergency services braced to discover more deaths as they search the scene.
Two casualties were taken to hospital with serious injuries and a firefighter was admitted with smoke inhalation after a gas explosion caused what was described as an “inferno”.
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service described the blaze as a “major incident”, while a local resident said they saw one person leap from a second-floor window to escape the burning building.
Bedfordshire Police initially said two people had been taken to hospital, one with serious injuries, as emergency services responded to the fire at the three-storey block of 20 flats, which caused the building’s roof to collapse.
East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) later said there had been three hospital admissions, one of whom was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital with leg injuries.
The other two, including a firefighter, were taken to Bedford South Wing Hospital with smoke inhalation.
The firefighter has since returned home, emergency services said.
Police said the “working assumption” about what sparked the fire was gas-related but that an investigation had been launched to formally establish the cause.
Collections are also being organised to help those who have lost their homes. Bedford Council has said people who have items to donate can deliver them to the back gates of Scott Hall Community Centre, Barford Avenue, Bedford, MK42 0DS between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday.