Four people have been taken to hospital after reports of an explosion and a fire in the Hinckley Road area of Leicester.
Police declared a “major incident” after reports of an explosion just after 19:00 GMT.
A police spokesman said: “At this stage there is no indication this is terrorist related.”
Carlisle Street and part of Hinckley Road have been closed and people are being asked to avoid the area.
Six fire engines have been at the scene, Leicestershire Police said. Flames could be seen rising from a building in the middle of a parade of shops.
BBC journalist John Alexander said the explosion had “blown debris and rubble across four lanes of traffic”.
He said the emergency services had cordoned off about 60 houses in the area and people had been evacuated because of an “enormous” fire.
A Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said they were involved in a “search and rescue” operation.
The affected property was a two-floor building with a loft conversion that had suffered a “pancake collapse”, she said.
| Major Incident |
19:19 |There has been a major incident on Hinckley Road, Leicester. All emergency services are currently dealing with this. Carlisle Street and part of Hinckley Road have been closed Please avoid the area.
— LeicestershirePolice (@leicspolice) February 25, 2018
End of Twitter post by @leicspolice
All four casualties have been taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary, the ambulance service said, and crews remain at the scene.
The hospital said all four patients are in a critical condition and asked people not to attend A&E unless “absolutely necessary”.
Alpana Marwaha, who lives nearby, told the BBC: “I heard a bang and the house shook. We could see the flames.
“You can still see the smoke coming, and the emergency services. There are few shops there and it is surrounded by houses,” she added.
She said that it was worrying being so close to the explosion and she hoped the authorities would establish its cause.
Pictures and video shared on social media appeared to show a shop engulfed in flames and the blaze visible from a distance.
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