2022 St Helier explosion

On 10 December 2022, an explosion destroyed a block of flats in St Helier, Jersey in the Channel Islands. Ten people were killed in the suspected gas explosion, which occurred just before 4 a.m. GMT.

2022 St Helier explosion
The site of the explosion
Date10 December 2022 (2022-12-10)
Time3:53 a.m. (GMT (UTC±0))
LocationPier Road, St Helier, Jersey
Coordinates49°10′42″N 02°06′30″W / 49.17833°N 2.10833°W / 49.17833; -2.10833
TypeGas explosion (suspected)
Non-fatal injuries2

The incident happened less than 48 hours after another multiple fatality in Jersey when a freight ship collided with and sank a local trawler off the island's west coast with three lives lost.[1]



The explosion occurred in a three-storey block of flats on Pier Road, which is located on the eastern shore of St Helier's harbour on the south side of the town. The building involved was a social housing block known as Haut de Mont (transl. Top of the Mount), owned by the Jersey government-owned housing company Andium Homes.[2]


The explosion destroyed a block in a public housing development overlooking St Helier Harbour

At 3:53 a.m.[3] GMT on 10 December 2022, a suspected gas explosion occurred at 27-32 Haut du Mont,[3] a three-storey block of flats on Pier Road in St Helier, Jersey.[2] The explosion, which was caught on CCTV camera[4] caused the building to pancake-collapse, completely destroying it.[5] It was loud enough to be heard across the island, waking up local residents across St Helier who described it as feeling like an earthquake.[6] The explosion caused a fire which sent a plume of smoke billowing across the town's harbour. The fire caused by the explosion was quickly extinguished by the Jersey Fire and Rescue Service, and specialist resources were deployed to stabilise the scene and attempt to reach any possible survivors in the rubble.[5]

More than 50 emergency services personnel were deployed to the scene of the explosion. The surrounding area on Mount Bingham, including Pier Road and South Hill, was cordoned off.[2] Debris from the explosion, including rocks and glass, was thrown over roads and pavements across a wide area.[5] Buildings in the surrounding streets suffered shattered windows, and buildings in the commercial district at the adjacent harbour were damaged. The emergency department at Jersey General Hospital declared a major incident and was closed to new arrivals following the explosion, and routine hospital wards were temporarily closed to visitors.[2]

A specialist hazardous area response team and an urban search and rescue team from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service were flown to the Island to assist in the search and rescue.[7] Equipment and personnel were flown to the island by UK Coastguard and Royal Air Force helicopters. Crews, including a sniffer dog, worked through the night trying to locate survivors.[8][9]



After 24 hours, known casualties were three dead and two injured.[8] It was later confirmed another person was injured, bringing the total to three.[10] The number of confirmed dead rose to five late on 11 December, with a further four still missing.[4]

On 11 December, Jersey police ceased search and rescue efforts, with the remaining missing presumed dead.[11] On 12 December, seven missing people, believed victims of the incident were named by Jersey Police.[12] Two people were still believed to be missing.[13]

On 13 December, the names of two further missing people were released.[14] On 14 December, the number of confirmed deaths increased to eight, with one missing person.[15][16] On 15 December, the final missing resident was found dead.[17] On 25 December there was a tenth fatality when a woman living at 35 Haut de Mont, a neighbouring flat who had been injured by the blast died in hospital.[18][3]

All of the victims were in their sixties and seventies.[19]


A police officer stands guard at the Jersey gas pipework trench site, with the blast site in the road just above

The chief of the States of Jersey Police, Robin Smith, confirmed that the Jersey Fire and Rescue Service had been called at 20:36 on the evening prior to the explosion and attended the area after reports of a smell of gas. They had left the scene at 21:01 after handing over to Island Energy, the gas network operator in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, in accordance with their standard operating procedure.[20] The company launched its own immediate investigation into the explosion[5][8] alongside, but independent of the official investigation launched by Jersey's authorities.[21]

According to Andium Homes, owner of the block, there had been no mains gas supply at the block.[22] The company's chief executive said that "There was a redundant Island Energy supply at Haut du Mont but as Island Energy have confirmed, no gas was being consumed on site either by us or our residents". In September 2022, Andium asked Island Energy to disconnect the redundant supply from the mains network[23] after the last tenant in a different apartment block in the Haut du Mont development switched to an electric cooker. A trench where gas engineers had been working before the incident in the street below Haut du Mont was subject to a police cordon but Smith said this was not part of the investigation.[20]

Smith advised it may be a criminal investigation or a joint investigation.[9] The site is being treated as a crime scene.[20] Jersey Detective Superintendent Alison Fossey was appointed to head the police investigation,[24] but under mutual aid arrangements, 26 specialist investigators from the United Kingdom including a fire and explosives expert, gas and structural expert and an archaeologist from the National Crime Agency were brought in to assist in the investigation, which is expected to take months. Fifteen more investigators were due to arrive on 18 December, bringing the total number of specialists to 48.[25] A further 25 detectives were working full time on interviewing people.[26]

On 30 December the Deputy Viscount in his role as the island's coroner opened the inquest into the 10 deaths.[3]

Three men were arrested between 16 and 17 August 2023 on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter in connection with the explosion.[27] They were released on bail while the investigation continues.[28] The police reported in August, nine months after the explosion, that there were 21 officers working full time on the investigation, 708 statements had been taken and 1,307 lines of enquiry had been pursued as part of Operation Spire.[29]

In an update to the media on 14 November 2023, Smith said that forensic tests by the UK Health and Safety Executive were underway as part of Operation Spire, a joint criminal investigation between the States of Jersey Police and Jersey's Health and Safety Inspectorate (HSI) which was considering whether Jersey's Health and Safety at Work law had been broken.[28]



Up to 40 people were evacuated from the area and given refuge at St Helier Town Hall following the explosion.[5][21] Two people suffered minor injuries and were described as "walking wounded", undergoing treatment at the Town Hall before being eventually hospitalised and released later the same day.[2][10] An adjacent block of flats was at risk of collapse due to explosion damage and had to be made safe by local contractors.[1] Fort Regent, the site of Jersey's COVID-19 vaccination centre, was closed following the explosion due to its proximity.[2]

The government of Jersey repurposed the island's COVID-19 helpline as a support line to provide information regarding the explosion in its aftermath.[30]

Forty-two residents of the area were displaced, with most having been found alternative housing.[12] They may not be able to return to their homes before Christmas 2022.[26]



The Chief Minister of Jersey, Kristina Moore, praised the island's "amazing strength" in coming together after a difficult week for Jersey, as a result of the explosion and a fishing trawler going missing with three people on board in the previous few days[5] after colliding with the Commodore Goodwill ferry. A minute's silence was held at football and sports games in Jersey and a candlelit vigil took place at the Town Church.[9]

On 11 December, Timothy Le Cocq, the Bailiff of Jersey, announced that flags would be flown at half-mast until 23 December "as a sign of respect following the two tragic accidents" and that there would be a one-minute's silence at 11 a.m. on Monday 11 December. He also announced a fundraising appeal to support those affected by the incidents.[31]

In a letter to the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey, King Charles III wrote that he and his wife were "dreadfully shocked and saddened" by the two tragedies affecting the island, and offered his deepest sympathy and condolences to all islanders affected by the "heart-breaking" events.[32]

See also



  1. ^ a b Thomas, Tobi; Badshah, Nadeem (10 December 2022). "At least three killed and a dozen missing after Jersey flats explosion". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Three dead and 'around a dozen' missing after block of flats destroyed in explosion". ITV News. 10 December 2022. Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Express, Bailiwick. "Inquest opens into 10 deaths following Pier Road Tragedy". Bailiwick Express Jersey. Retrieved 2 January 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Five dead and four still missing after block of flats destroyed in explosion". ITV News. 11 December 2022. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "One killed in explosion at flats in Jersey". BBC News. 10 December 2022. Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  6. ^ "One killed in explosion at flats in Jersey". BBC News. 10 December 2022. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  7. ^ "Specialist rescuers flown to Jersey after 'pockets of fire' discovered in flat wreckage". ITV News. 10 December 2022. Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  8. ^ a b c "Search for missing people after Jersey flat explosion becomes 'recovery operation'". ITV News. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  9. ^ a b c Potigny, Fiona (11 December 2022). "WATCH: Search moves to "recovery" at explosion site as no signs of life found". Bailiwick Express. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  10. ^ a b "Searches into the night after deadly blast on Jersey". BBC News. 10 December 2022. Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  11. ^ "Jersey explosion: No survivors found in search after blast". BBC News. 11 December 2022. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  12. ^ a b "Jersey explosion: Seven victims named by police". BBC News. 12 December 2022. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  13. ^ "Seven dead and two still missing after block of flats destroyed in Jersey explosion". ITV News. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  14. ^ "Two more people missing since St Helier explosion identified by Jersey Police". ITV News. 13 December 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  15. ^ "Pier Road Tragedy: eight now confirmed to have died". Bailiwick Express. 14 December 2022. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  16. ^ "Jersey explosion death toll rises to eight". BBC News. 14 December 2022. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  17. ^ "Ninth death confirmed in Jersey explosion". BBC News. 15 December 2022. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  18. ^ "Tenth person dies following explosion which destroyed Jersey block of flats". ITV News. 26 December 2022. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  19. ^ "Nine now confirmed dead in St Helier explosion". Jersey Evening Post. 15 December 2022. Retrieved 17 December 2022.
  20. ^ a b c "Haut du Mont tragedy: What we know so far". Jersey Evening Post. 15 December 2022. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  21. ^ a b Whitehead, Dan (12 December 2022). "Jersey flats explosion: Police name seven victims missing, feared dead, after blast". Sky News. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  22. ^ "No mains gas at Jersey flats destroyed in explosion as supplier conducts safety tests". ITV News. 12 December 2022. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  23. ^ "Jersey explosion: Final two people feared dead named". BBC News. 13 December 2022. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  24. ^ "Senior detective appointed to lead investigation into fatal explosion". Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  25. ^ Government of Jersey [@GovJersey] (15 December 2022). "An update from the Heads of Emergency Services https://t.co/dHVMKCzU3Y" (Tweet). Retrieved 15 December 2022 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ a b "Displaced residents may not be home by Christmas". Jersey Evening Post. 16 December 2022. Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  27. ^ "Three people arrested in connection with Pier Road explosion". Bailiwick Express Jersey. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  28. ^ a b Morris, Michael (14 November 2023). "Police provide updates about three major investigations". Jersey Evening Post. p. 9. Archived from the original on 20 November 2023. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  29. ^ ""As a grieving family, we are glad that the police have progressed the investigation"". 23 August 2023.
  30. ^ "Jersey explosion: Searches into the night after deadly blast". BBC News. 10 December 2022. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  31. ^ "Minute Silence And Vigil for an Island in Mourning". Channel 103. 11 December 2022. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  32. ^ "King Charles III offers his condolences to Jersey following 'heartbreaking' maritime collision and Pier Road explosion". Jersey Evening Post. 16 December 2022. Retrieved 16 December 2022.