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Five people injured in apartment block explosion

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Collapsed: The Hilltop Court apartment block in Southampton that was destroyed by an explosion last night. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Five people were taken to hospital after an explosion at a block of apartments in Southampton last night, police said.

At least two people were pulled from rubble on Hilltop Court after residents in the neighbourhood heard a “huge boom”.

Detective Chief Inspector Arthur Glasford said that, although it was early in the investigation, it appeared the explosion was caused by a gas leak.

The detective said it was understood that everyone in the apartments was accounted for.

Looking for answers: Detective Chief Inspector Arthur Glasford of the Bermuda Police Service is leading the investigation (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

He said: “Upon arrival the police and fire service were provided with details of persons inside the residence and for now it would appear that everybody that was inside the residence has been accounted for.”

Mr Glasford said that the extent of the injuries suffered by the five victims was not known.

He added: “We still have fire service personnel on the scene just doing an assessment.

“Five occupants of the residence, which is made up of a series of apartments, were conveyed to the hospital to be treated for various injuries.

“We anticipate the fire service will be holding the scene overnight, so they can do a thorough and extensive investigation to ascertain the cause of this unfortunate situation.”

Gutted: the property, which contained several units was severely damaged in the blast (Photograph by Allan Doughty)

Allan Doughty, who lives near by, said he was playing guitar on his porch at 8.48pm when he heard a "huge boom", which shook the ground and rattled the windows.

He went to the scene where he met a neighbour who told him she had pulled two people from the rubble.

She added that they were bloody and their skin was scraped but they did not appear to be seriously injured.

The pair were among those taken to hospital.

Reduced to rubble: five people were taken to hospital following an explosion in an apartment block in Southampton (Photograph supplied)

Mr Doughty said there was no evidence of any fire at the scene and suspected it may have been caused by a gas leak.

Crystal Caesar, the Progressive Labour Party MP for Southampton West Central, attended the scene to support her constituents.

She said that most of the occupants of the block were seniors.

She said: “People are shaken, literally and figuratively.

“This is a blow to the community, we don’t want to see anyone injured in any way, shape or form.

“We want to be here for them but we just want them to know that we are here, I am here as well, they can reach out to me.”

Ms Caesar was joined by PLP colleagues Jason Wade and Wayne Caines.

She said that the Government sent “thoughts, prayers and concerns to the affected individuals, the families, and of course, the community”.

Action stations: emergency services were applauded for their response to the explosion (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A Bermuda Police Service spokesman explained: “Around 8.50pm today, several 911 calls were received regarding an explosion at a Hilltop Court, Southampton residence.

“Police, Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service as well as ambulance personnel responded to the scene.”

He added that the building “suffered significant damage”.

Investigation: the property was cordoned of by police who are now conducting an investigation of the scene (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, had a briefing with police and fire chiefs shortly after the incident.

Mr Weeks said: “I was shocked to learn of the horrific incident which occurred in the St Anne’s Road area earlier tonight.

“Our thoughts and our prayers are with the families that have been directly impacted, and we hope for a speedy recovery for those that have been injured.

“As the investigation into the cause and circumstances surrounding the explosion continue overnight tonight, I would ask members of the public not to share images of any person that has been injured.

“I also ask that no one attempt to enter the premises while the investigation is taking place.

“Members of the Bermuda Police Service and the Royal Bermuda Regiment will be maintaining a cordon around the area to ensure public safety and preservation of evidence.

“More information will be released in due course, and I want to extend my sincere thanks to our fire fighters and first responders for their swift reaction to this incident.”

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Published May 03, 2022 at 2:31 pm (Updated May 03, 2022 at 2:31 pm)

Five people injured in apartment block explosion

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