ONE person has died and 12 are missing following an explosion at a block of flats in Jersey so strong "it was picked up by earthquake monitors".

The horror blast in Jersey's capital, St Helier, happened just before 4am, with emergency services launching a search for survivors.

Jersey Police confirmed a number of residents are missing after the explosion and fire on the south of the island left debris strewn across the area.

Officers have cordoned off a large part of St Helier, with cops urging people to stay away from the area surrounding Mount Bingham.

Two others, described by cops as "walking wounded", have been evacuated to the nearby Town Hall to be treated.

The force said in a statement: "Following the explosion this morning at Haut du Mont, Pier Road, a number of residents are still missing.

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"Emergency services are working at the scene and have commenced a surface search of the site.

"Relatives are being contacted by Family Liaison Officers."

Robin Smith, chief officer at States of Jersey Police added: "There are of course a number of other people that are unaccounted for and therefore a search and rescue operation has commenced."

He said Jersey Fire and Rescue Service were liaising with Hampshire Fire and Rescue to help with the search.

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Mr Smith added between 20 and 30 people evacuated from the area had been taken to St Helier Town Hall.

Twenty-one police officers, nine paramedics and 19 firefighters have attended the scene.

Cops said the fire has been extinguished, but emergency services are still "carrying out significant work" at the scene, which is cordoned off, and people have been asked to avoid the area.

Jersey Consumer Council Chairman Carl Walker said: "Thoughts are with all those affected by this morning’s explosion in St Helier, which was powerful enough to be picked up on British Geological Survey’s earthquake monitors.

"It’s now time for Jersey’s community to respond like never before."

While at this stage there is no confirmation of the cause of the explosion, Jersey's gas supplier – Island Energy – posted an update on Twitter.

The tweet read: "We are working with @JsyFire to understand exactly what has happened and will share more information once it is available.

"We ask that islanders continue to follow the advice given by emergency services at this time."

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