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Explosion Investigation 'Will Take Time'

Jersey's Police Chief has asked for patience to allow the investigation of the Haut du Mont explosion to 'do what it needs to do' to get answers to what happened.

Earlier today, a ninth death was confirmed from the Pier Road disaster.   Robin Smith told a media briefing no one else is believed to be missing.

"We believe there are no more residents that remain unaccounted for.

The search for the operation will continue until the site has been carefully and sensitively cleared."

He said teams working at the site of the destroyed block of flats are almost at the end of the recovery operation, and that they have made remarkable progress in just five days.

"Colleagues across the three services have worked tirelessly, expending remarkable effort in what has been very, very cold temperatures - wind, cold, even snow - to find the nine members of our community.

It is testament to the determination and professionalism of Jersey emergency services, as well as the incredible support that we have received from the UK."

Fire Chief Paul Brown echoed those comments:

"I have visited the scene every day and night since Saturday.

I have seen first hand firefighters from Jersey Fire & Rescue Service and our UK colleagues operating with relentless drive and exemplary compassion to search for, locate and bring into our care the members of our community we have so tragically lost."

20 full-time police officers are assigned to the investigation into what happened.  It is being led by Head of Crime Detective Superintendent Alison Fossey. 

Mr Smith says it will be long, complex and take weeks and months.  He has asked people to be patient.

"I fully appreciate that families and friends of the victims, and the wider community as a whole, will want to know, and understand, how this tragic event occurred.

We will get to that stage, I promise, but it will take time."

Mr Brown says the Fire Service  - which is bringing in outside experts for its investigation of the explosion - will do everything needed to get the answers.

He says the direct role of the service will now begin to wind down as the investigation gains pace.

"We will support, in any way we can, the investigation led by the States of Jersey Police with openness and transparency, and the relentless drive for the truth through facts.

That is what the families of those we have lost deserve. That is what they will receive."

Both Chiefs took time to express their gratitude to the magnitude of outside organisations that have travelled to Jersey to help in the search and recovery of the islanders lost in the explosion.  They include:

  • UK Urban Search And Rescue,
  • Hazardous Area Response Team,
  • 26 officers on mutual aid,
  • Major incident experts,
  • Three experts from the National Crime Agency - a fire and explosive expert, gas and structural expert and an archaeologist.
  • Advisors from the National Crime Agency
  • 15 additional helpers arriving this weekend to support the Disaster Victim Identification and CSI processes.
  • 48 specialists from Gloucestershire, Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Wiltshire and Guernsey.
  • Hampshire and the Isle of Wright Fire & Rescue Service,
  • Avon Fire & Rescue Service,
  • Essex Fire & Rescue Service,
  • Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service,
  • Kent Fire & Rescue Service,
  • Tyne & Wyre Fire & Rescue Service,
  • The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service,
  • Fire Chiefs Council,
  • NFCC National Resilience Team
  • Maritime Coastguard Agency,
  • UK Ministry of Defence.

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