London: An explosion Friday ripped through a Hare Krishna temple in Leicester in central England, causing fire inside the complex and trapping several worshippers.
The cause of the blast was not immediately clear, but
the firefighters say one-third of the terraced property on
Thoresby Street has been destroyed and is too unstable for
crews to enter.
Specialist rescue teams and equipment, including
search dogs and thermal imaging cameras, are being used to
establish if any casualties are inside, the reports said.
A wide cordon is in place around the building, which
is still on fire, according to eyewitnesses.
A spokeswoman for Leicestershire Fire Service said
they have had reports people were inside the temple at the
time of the blast.
Leicester is about 160 kilometers north of London.
A local councillor told BBC Radio that the president
of the temple had confirmed that "all those who were inside
have been accounted" for and were "all safe and well".
It is thought that gas bottles being used for cooking
at the temple could have exploded.
Eyewitness Fatima Khatri said, "We were all working
and we suddenly heard a big bang and for one split second we
thought it was a bomb, so we all ran to the window.
"Suddenly we heard the other bang and we saw all these
flames coming out and we just could not believe it because the
whole street was shaken up.
"Everyone was really nervous because all we could see
is the fire and people screaming and running around, all the
children couldn`t stop crying and it was a terrible