Investigators looking into the Pier Road explosion that claimed the lives of ten islanders have completed their evidence-gathering at the scene — and provided an update on the next steps for the site.
The site of the explosion, which collapsed Haut du Mont flats on 10 December, has now been handed over to government, who will be working with bereaved families, displaced residents, and surrounding communities to determine what happens next.
The upper levels of Pier Road car park, which have been closed since December to provide privacy to the police investigation and the work of experts in disaster victim support and the recovery of personal effects, will reopen from Thursday.
Pictured: Benches have been placed at the current Haut Du Mont memorial site at Mount Bingham.
The cordoned section of Pier Road will remain closed until further notice while decisions about the next steps are being considered.
29 households were displaced because of the explosion. 24 of them are in, or moving to, new permanent Andium Homes accommodation.
Video: The Pier Road explosion site now.
The publicly owned housing provider said it would continue to work closely with the remaining displaced households to offer them additional opportunities to secure new permanent homes as soon as possible.
Andium Homes will continue to own the Haut du Mont site but it will now be secured and managed by the government, following the departure of the police.
To date, the investigation team have carried out more than 900 lines of enquiry, taken more than 400 statements, and collected more than 700 exhibits.
The work of the disaster support and recovery experts is expected to finish next month. After this time, the team, from global emergency management company GoCrisis, will be working on cataloguing personal items to ensure their return to affected islanders.
Pictured: The site of the explosion at Haut du Mont. (Jon Guegan)
The investigation into the explosion is expected to take several months. The working theory in the days after the tragedy was that it was caused by a gas leak, although no cause(s) will be given until the end of the investigation, which is being overseen by senior police officer Alison Fossey.
The next phase will include examination of key pieces of evidence by expert services at the HSE Science and Research Centre in Buxton.
It will also involve examination of CCTV footage, a continuation of interviews with key witnesses, and ongoing liaison with the Law Officer's Department about potential criminal offences.
Deputy Chief Minister Kirsten Morel said: “The Haut du Mont site has now been released by States of Jersey Police following their completion of work at the site.
“While good progress continues to be made at the site, it is important the area is kept cordoned off to maintain public safety.
“In view of this, Andium Homes has suggested that it would be most appropriate for responsibility of the day-to-day security and management of the site to remain with Government, while the next steps are being considered.
Pictured: Emergency Services at the scene of the explosion in December.
“It is still too soon to be making firm plans for the future of the area, which will take time and will be very sensitive to those most affected. Further decisions about the next steps will be considered alongside bereaved families, displaced residents, and the surrounding communities.
“I’d like to thank States of Jersey Police for their work as the investigation into this tragic event continues to make good progress. I’d also like to thank Andium Homes for their continued hard work and deep commitment to their residents.”
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