Explosion in Leicester flattens building and starts fire

By Kiran Bedder-Patel

An explosion has led to a shop being burnt down in Hinckley Road, Leicester, this evening.  
Emergency services were alerted to the blaze at around 7pm and four people were taken to hospital. 

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Andy Birkett, 25, lives in the area and said he was actually outside at the time, putting rubbish in his bin. 
“I just popped out and heard a explosive bang, a bang what instantly tells you it’s not a firework. Of a bomb noise in fact,” he said.

I quickly ran in because you just don’t know or what to do so I turned my tv on and thought nothing of it. Then I heard police cars whizzing past and so many fire engines. I hope no one’s been hurt but you never know.”  
Police taped off surrounding areas and evacuated houses near the shop, understood to be a convenience store, and asked people close by to stand well clear. 
Debris could be seen on both sides of Hinkley Road which police had also closed off. 
Six fire engines were sent to the scene and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed a search and rescue operation was under way.  
Nearby shops, tj’s takeaway and Morgans bar, are both believed to have had people inside. 
East Midlands Ambulance Service reported that four people were taken to hospital and are in a critical condition. It also advised people to avoid the area and only to attend A&E if they have an emergency. 
Police said that there was no indication of terrorist activity.


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