Police say they are 'cautiously optimistic' of no more deaths in Bedford flat explosion and fire

The explosion resulted in a huge fire which ripped through the three storey building
The fire and explosion left at least one person dead Credit: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Police officers say they are 'cautiously optimistic' no more bodies will be found after a massive explosion and fire at bock of flats

Flames ripped through the three-storey block of flats in Redwood Grove in Bedford on Monday (July 4).

Despite warning that they may find further bodies in the wreckage of the building, today (Thursday July 7) investigators said they had now accounted for everyone and were becoming more hopeful that no more lives had been lost.

That comes as the body of the one known victim to have died has been recovered.

Bedfordshire Police worked with structural engineers and fire investigators to recover the body.

A post mortem examination is due to be held tomorrow, while formal identification is yet to take place, officers are supporting the believed next of kin.

Chief Superintendent John Murphy, from Bedfordshire Police, said: “This remains an incredibly complex investigation which will take some time to carry out.

"While we cannot currently physically enter the building to carry out a proper search, based on our investigations so far, and the information we have received, we do not believe there is anybody else unaccounted for, either as residents or visitors.

“It is a tragedy that one person has lost their life and our thoughts are very much with their loved ones.

“However, it’s welcome that we can be cautiously optimistic that there will be no further victims.”

Firefighters at the scene of the blast Credit: Doug Peters/PA

There was some more good news for residents forced to flee neighbouring properties.

Bedfordshire Police said that they have now completed searches of the outer cordon and have been able to let those living in 78 flats in the adjacent block to go home.

However they have warned a large part of the affected building remains unsafe and it will be some time before full examination and investigations can be carried out.

Ch Supt Murphy said: "We’ve been working hard to get as many residents back into their homes as possible and I’d like to thank everyone who has been impacted for their patience and understanding at this difficult time."

Floral tributes left for the victim were also moved closer to the flats now the wider cordon has been removed.

Investigation work at the block could take several weeks Credit: Adam Fisher/PA

Forensic teams assisted by Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are continuing investigations including CCTV enquiries as they seek to establish the cause of the explosion.

It has been confirmed there is no mains gas supply into the building.

An information centre has been set up for people to get in touch, report any concerns or find out about family members.

Concerned family and friends can also call 0800 051 6085.