Massive Explosion, Fire Rocks Leicester City Centre — Police Declare ‘Major Incident’

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A major explosion followed by a huge fire has rocked Leicester City Center in the East Midlands, England.

From the Leicester Mercury: 

A massive explosion has ripped through a shop in Hinckley Road, Leicester, causing a massive fire.

Emergency crews rushed to the scene after the blast, which happened at about 7pm.

Leicestershire Police issued the following statement: “There has been a major incident on Hinckley Road, Leicester. All emergency services are currently dealing with this. Carlisle Street and part of Hinckley Road have been closed. Please avoid the area.”

The cause of the explosion is not clear and there is no indication at this time of connection terrorism or other foul play.

Britain’s The Sun newspaper reported that the explosion tore through what is thought to be a grocer’s and the home above in Leicester’s Hinckley Road neighborhood, about a mile from city center. Raging orange flames could be seen rising above the building and residents described their homes being shaken by the initial blast.

There has been no confirmation of injuries, but one resident told The Sun, “The shop was open until 10pm so there would have been people in there at the time.”

One resident told The Sun, “People grabbed blankets and ran towards the fire to try to help people. There was rubble and shop fittings everywhere,” and, “I saw people pulling up chunks of rubble and searching for people underneath. It was like someone took a delete tool on a computer and just erased the whole building.”

The Daily Mirror reported 60 homes nearby have been evacuated by police. The immediate area was closed off by emergency services, but residents and reporters posted video and photos from nearby on Twitter:

Ian Mason contributed to this report.

This story is developing…

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