Fire crews work to make buildings safe after explosion

The aftermath of the explosion seen from above

More than forty personnel from the emergency services and disaster relief teams are on site today - at the scene of an explosion at Osney Mead in Oxford which caused a block of flats to collapse on Tuesday.

Fire crews are working to make the remaining structures, neighbouring homes and buildings safe so that they can continue to search the rubble to confirm if anybody is beneath the debris.

The people living in nineteen neighbouring properties have been unable to return home because of the threat of unstable adjoining buildings coming down. Structural engineers are assessing the damage, and will recommend further action.

The fire service says that delicate work will be required, and that once safety measures have been implemented a police dog will search the debris first, and then firefighters will start the painstaking work of removing the rubble. After that detectives, fire investigators and crime scene investigators will look into what caused the explosion.

The workers from various agencies are expected to remain at the scene for much of the day. They are from organisations including Oxfordshire's Fire & Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police, South Central Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council’s Emergency Planning Unit and A2Dominion Housing.

Adjoining and neighbouring buildings have been left with lasting damage

The county council's emergency planning team has been working with the social housing firm, A2Dominion, to provide alternative accommodation for displaced residents who are not staying with friends or family members.

ITV Meridian came live from the scene on Thursday 16th February as the investigation continued. Earlier in the day the police revealed that one of the residents was missing presumed dead.