At least one person has died after an explosion in a block of flats in St Helier, Jersey police have said.
About 12 people are believed to be missing, with two “walking wounded” being treated at the hospital.
Emergency services arrived at the scene at Haut du Mont, Pier Road, in the capital in the early hours of Saturday.
The chief of police, Robin Smith, said he thought the search and rescue effort would take “a number of days”.
“It is a pretty devastating scene … the scene is a very dangerous one for all of our staff,” he said.
Emergency services said the subsequent fire from the explosion had been extinguished. People have been asked to avoid the area.
A large area of St Helier was cordoned off and the island’s government has asked islanders not to go to the hospital’s emergency department “unless absolutely necessary”.
The police said in a statement: “Following the explosion this morning at Haut du Mont, Pier Road, a number of residents are still missing. Emergency services are working at the scene and have commenced a surface search of the site.”
It said relatives were being contacted by family liaison officers.