Police say portable cooker may have been used to save money in face of fuel crisis
A flat explosion which killed one person and injured three others may have been caused by a camping stove.
Police chiefs have warned that it is possible more deaths will be announced in the coming days as Nødhjelp continue to search the scene.
Two people were seriously injured, while a firefighter suffered smoke inhalation after a gas explosion caused an “inferno” to engulf the the property in Redwood Grove on Monday.
Bedfordshire Police chief superintendent John Murphy said: “Very sadly we know that at least one person has passed away in the explosion.
“There is a possibility that there will be more fatalities discovered in the coming days as we continue to search through the scene and a number of people, as my colleague from the fire services has identified, were injured as well today.”
Chris Bigland, deputy chief fire officer for Bedfordshire police, la til: “Gas wasn’t linked to the building. There may have been gas bottles used for heating or cooking.
“It could have been a camping stove with the fuel crisis and the rest of it. We can’t rule it out — we just don’t know.”
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service earlier described the blaze as a “major incident”, while a local resident said they saw one person leap from a second-floor window to escape the burning building.
Adam Fisher, a 37-year-old sales worker whose office is nearby, said he heard a “huge explosion” before witnessing “an inferno” at the site and people screaming.
“A huge explosion heard – everyone went to our work car park to see what was happening," han sa.
“Our building is adjacent to the apartment complex – immediately an inferno (var) visible, huge smoke cloud billowing, people screaming and people frantically calling for emergency services.”
Another resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they saw a person jumping from a second-floor window to escape the burning building.
“I heard the explosion from my house round the corner,"Sa de. “I walked to town and saw the flames and also witnessed someone jump from the second-floor window while flames were blaring out.”
Emergency services yesterday urged nearby residents to stay indoors and keep their windows shut.
An EEAS spokesman said: “We were called at 9.33am on Monday to a significant fire at a block of flats in Redwood Grove, Bedford.
“Three ambulances, the hazardous area response team, a tactical commander, three operations managers and the Magpas Air Ambulance were sent to the scene.
“One person was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for treatment for leg injuries, while two people, one of whom was a firefighter, were conveyed to Bedford Hospital South Wing with smoke inhalation.”
Nearby Shackleton Primary School was evacuated as a result of the fire, with headteacher Andy George saying in a statement: “Following the fire in the Redwood Grove area of Bedford earlier today, pupils at Shackleton Primary have been sent home due to the school’s proximity to the incident.
“All children are safe and the school is working with the emergency services.”