Explosion destroys sports centre in Belgium, killing at least one

An explosion has destroyed half of a sports centre in Belgium, with reports at least one person has died and four have been injured, two seriously.

The blast happened shortly after midnight at a complex known as Le Chalon in the southern municipality of Chimay, on the border with France.

Chimay police chief Pierre Maton said early on Friday that the blast was most likely “a gas explosion,” but an investigation into the cause was ongoing. There was no indication of it being a militant attack, officials said.

It is thought there was a total of five people in the building.

Several dozen police and firefighters attended the scene and the area had been cordoned off, but the damage was not as serious as initially feared. Windows were blown out of the two-story building, and one corner of the structure was badly damaged but there was no major collapse.

The town has a population of 10,000 and lies 120km (75 miles) south of Brussels.

A municipal stage of emergency has been declared and police have set up a security perimeter at the scene of the disaster, according to local media reports.

Belgium and France, along with the rest of Europe, have been on high alert after Islamic State attacks in Paris and Brussels over the past year.

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