An explosion ripped through the Hindu Hare Krishna temple in Leicester in central England today, 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 BBC reported.
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 devastating scene. (India Today)