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Blast destroys shop and home in English city, 5 taken to hospital

Blast destroys shop and home in English city, 5 taken to hospital

The incident on a crowded street that leads into Leicester's city center was being treated as a search-and-rescue operation, the Fire and Rescue Service said.

"All emergency services are now dealing with this", the police force tweeted just after 7 p.m local time.

"The cause of the explosion will be the subject of a joint investigation by the police and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service", police said. "At first I thought it must be a bad crash, but as I got closer and could see the flames beginning to come out of the building, it became obvious what it was". "There is just an bad lot of smoke here at the moment and the whole area is cordoned off".

On Twitter Leicestershire police posted: "There has been a major incident on Hinckley Road, Leicester".

It advised people to "please avoid the area" and added that local roads had been closed.

Eye-witness Tahir Khan said: "I was driving past when it happened". I looked on the road and half the building was on the road.

Another added: "Explosion on or near HinckleyRoad in Leicester".

Four people were hospitalized in critical condition following an explosion that left a building in the English city of Leicester in flames Sunday, local emergency agencies said. "It is unknown if people are injured or trapped".

Pictures and video shared on social media appeared to show a shop engulfed in flames and the blaze visible from a distance.

British police said there was no immediate indication that the explosion was linked to terrorism.

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