Emergency services were called out to an explosion and fire on Redwood Grove in Bedford at around 9.10am on Monday 4 July.
A three-storey block of flats was significantly damaged in the fire, which also caused a large section of the roof to collapse.
One person, Reena James, sadly lost her life as a result of the incident.
If you have further information, please use our online reporting tool or call 101. We would be especially keen to hear from anyone with camera phone footage of the fire prior to the arrival of the fire brigade.
Detectives investigating the fatal explosion at the Redwood Grove flats in Bedford now believe the person who died in the blaze deliberately started the fire.
Reena James, 42, died in the incident on the morning of 4 July which resulted in a number of residents having to be evacuated after their flats were badly damaged.
Over the past two months a team of detectives has been carrying out detailed examination of the scene, alongside Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service investigators and several leading experts from around the country.
Residents who remain displaced from their homes were updated on the latest developments at a special community meeting held last night (Thursday).
Emergency services are still carrying out their work in Redwood Grove this week following an explosion at a block of flats in which one woman, Reena James, sadly lost her life.
More than 100 people attended a community meeting on Thursday for residents in the area, and we would like to thank everyone for their patience and support.
We are working alongside Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to carry out our investigation as quickly as we can.
We understand there is a lot of rumour and speculation on social media regarding the cause of the explosion and fire.
The scene is incredibly complex and it remains difficult to physically get investigators into the building. This means our investigation is still likely to take many more weeks.
So while we still have to be open minded about what happened, we would like to reassure people that there is no evidence to suggest it was caused by a bomb or explosive device. No arrests have been made.
Specialist counter terrorism officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit have carried out an initial assessment and established there is no indication to suggest the matter is terrorist related.
Following an incident of this scale it is natural that people will wish to speculate, but we would kindly ask that you refrain from doing so as sharing misinformation can cause further concern.
As soon as we have any more information in relation to our investigation, we will of course let everyone know.
Again, a big thank you to everyone for your ongoing patience and understanding.
A woman who died following an explosion and fire in Bedford has been named.
Reena James, 43, is believed to be the only person who has died as a result of the incident in Redwood Grove on Monday last week (4 July).
Specialist police officers are continuing to support her family after she was formally identified on Friday (8 July).
Ms James lived in the block of the flats where the explosion happened just after 9am.
Chief Superintendent John Murphy, from Bedfordshire Police, said: “This must be an awful time for all of Reena’s loved ones and our thoughts are with them at such a difficult and distressing time.
“Specialist family liaison officers are working with her family and will support them however we can."
Some limited demolition work could start on the affected block of flats as soon as this week, a crucial step in making it a safe environment and allowing investigators to start more detailed work into what happened.
Today, searches of the outer cordon were completed and residents were able to return to some 78 flats in the adjacent block.
However, a large part of the affected building remains unsafe and it will be some time before full examination and investigations can be carried out.
Last night (Wednesday) police worked with structural engineers, fire investigators from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and specialist teams to recover the body of the one person who is known to have died in the incident.
A post mortem is due to be held tomorrow (Friday).
While formal identification is yet to take place, officers are supporting the believed next of kin.
Floral tributes left for the victim were also moved closer to the flats now the wider cordon has been removed.
In addition to the significantly damaged flats, six further neighbouring flats remain unsafe to return to, but it is hoped that residents will be able to briefly access their homes in the coming weeks, after they have been made structurally safe, to retrieve important and sentimental items.
Emergency services investigating an explosion in Bedford believe they may be able to get access to the main affected block of flats quicker than expected following discussions with experts.
Police have held positive discussions with structural engineers and may be able to begin the process of detailed search more quickly, subject to some structural support and safety measures being implemented in the next few days.
Those responding to the incident in Redwood Grove are hopeful that the majority of residents in an adjacent block of flats will be able to return to their homes by the end of this week.
Once residents have been able to safely return, it is hoped there will be an opportunity to facilitate access to vehicles which remain within the cordoned area.
Following discussions with experts, it is also hoped that occupants of some of the directly impacted flats will be able to briefly return and collect a small number of important or cherished items. Police expect this to be in the weeks ahead, given the need to make the building structurally safe and then complete detailed searches.
At least one person is confirmed to have died in the explosion and fire. Specialist officers are speaking with and supporting the next of kin of the person who is believed to have died, but have not yet been able to formally confirm their identify.
Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service has confirmed there is no mains gas supply into the building.
Their specialist fire investigators continue to work with colleagues from Bedfordshire Police to establish the cause of the fire and are following a number of lines of enquiry.
Investigations are continuing into a fatal explosion in Bedford that is believed to have left at least one person dead.
Work has continued at the scene in Redwood Grove today as part of a process that police believe will take several weeks.
The damage caused by the explosion and subsequent fire means that search teams are unlikely to be able to enter the main block of flats affected for some time.
However, an adjacent block of flats could be re-opened to residents by the end of the week.
So far one fatality has been confirmed. While they have not yet been formally identified, specialist officers are supporting the next of kin of the person who is believed to have died.
Chief Superintendent John Murphy is leading the Bedfordshire Police response to the explosion, which happened shortly after 9am yesterday.
He said: “This is a hugely distressing and traumatic incident, and our thoughts remain with the friends and family of the person who has tragically lost their life.
“We still do not know the cause of the explosion. A number of lines of enquiry are taking place to help us establish that, and we are working closely with our colleagues from the fire service as part of our investigation.
“We are now entering a protracted stage of the investigation at a very complex scene where we will be conducting our enquiries as diligently and professionally as we can.
“It may take a significant amount of time before we can begin to search at the affected site, given the damage that has been caused and the risks that presents to our teams. Therefore, at this stage we cannot rule out the possibility of further fatalities being discovered.
“We know that residents of nearby properties want to get back into their homes as quickly as possible and we thank them for their continued support and patience while we continue to ensure the scene is safe.”
Firefighters have been carrying out reassurance visits today around the affected area as they continue to support.
The emergency assistance centre remains open for today at the John Bunyan Centre in Bedford for anyone who needs help or support.
From tomorrow, there will be an information centre at the Harpur Suite, Bedford town centre 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.
The local community has made a huge amount of donations to help those who have been evacuated.
Our specialist education and diversion team also joined mental health services to deliver special sessions at a school near to the flats today.
One person is confirmed to have died in the fire and a number of others remain unaccounted for, with police working alongside partner agencies to establish people’s safety.
A further three people were taken to hospital, including one who was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s with serious leg injuries.
This includes a firefighter who was treated for smoke inhalation.
Detectives have launched an investigation to identify the cause of the explosion. Given the complexity of the scene, this is expected to take some time.
An emergency assistance centre has been set up at The John Bunyan Centre in Bedford, for people who have been evacuated and need support.
People are being asked to arrange their own accommodation if possible, but council housing officers are available at the emergency assistance centre to give advice and Bedford Borough Council can arrange accommodation if people are unable to do so.