Several people injured as property collapses in blast

A gas explosion in Osney in Oxford destroyed a block of flats this evening

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: "Once these safety measures are in place a police dog will carry out a search of the debris pile and then firefighters will start to remove the rubble so a search can be undertaken to confirm if anybody is under the rubble". The blast, close to the marina, has resulted in the area being cordoned off.

At a press conference today, Thames Valley Police said: "We strongly believe at this time that this person is in the debris and has died, however whilst this remains unconfirmed we would ask the public to get in touch if they see a man matching the description".

Emergency services are now on the scene at what is being described as a "huge explosion" involving a house boat at the Osney Boatyard area in Oxford.

Police and fire chiefs said they are undertaking a "full and thorough investigation" but no cause has been given for the explosion and blaze.

"Given the circumstances of the incident, we are asking members of the public not to approach Guido but call 999 immediately".

Officers on the scene have been assisting to evacuate residents of nearby properties.

"It sounded like a bomb had gone off".

The structure is a three-storey block of four flats with five ambulances.

Supt Joe Kidman said: "Our strong hypothesis is that Guido died in the fire, and we are continuing to offer support to his family at this time".

The ambulance service confirmed to the Mail that the blast was a gas mains explosion. One eyewitness told the BBC there was one small blast, followed by a much larger explosion five minutes later.

In an updated statement, Thames Valley Police said: "Emergency services are still establishing whether there is anyone injured at the scene". We are keeping an open mind as to the cause of the incident however we are not treating it as terrorism-related.

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