Two people have been seriously injured and 32 others are in hospital after several buildings collapsed in a suspected gas explosion.
Emergency services were called to the "major incident" in Bebington, on the Wirral, on Saturday night.
North West Ambulance Service said two people were in a serious condition in hospital, while 32 others were being treated for minor injuries.
Several properties, including one thought to be a dance studio, had collapsed, Merseyside Fire and Rescue said.
Debris could be seen in footage scattered along the road.
Around 20 people have been evacuated from houses in the surrounding area and moved to a nearby church, the ambulance service added.
Fifteen people were taken to hospital by paramedics, while a further 15 took themselves to hospital, the spokeswoman said.
The two seriously injured people are being cared for at Aintree Hospital.
The incident was said to have happened in Boundary Road, Port Sunlight, at around 9.15pm, with emergency services on the scene shortly after 9.20pm.
Eight fire engines were sent to the scene, while road closures have been put in place nearby.
Bino Shan, of a convenience store in Bebington Road, said: "I saw one man injured, I think a few people were injured.
"The building is gone, my door is damaged and broken. It's really scary, it was a big explosion but I didn't see any fire.
"The police said the gas blew up."
Residents took to Twitter reporting hearing a huge explosion for miles around.
@Vicky-Aspey tweeted: "Massive explosion here in Wirral. Hope all ok. Heard everywhere. Scary".
Hundreds of pounds have already been donated by well-wishers to help repair the destroyed dance studio, said to be called Complete Works.
Lauren Dickson, who set up the JustGiving fund-raising page, wrote: "A devastating gas leak destroyed the whole building and all its contents.
"Please please give anything you can to support the hardest working, most loving people who not only lost their studios, but their whole business."
Those whose homes have been evacuated will face a considerable wait before they are allowed to return, a spokesman for the fire service said.
Dan Stephens of Merseyside Fire and Rescue told reporters: "This incident is likely to be protracted, this is likely to last several days.
"Very significant damage as you can tell, so it will be some time before people will be allowed back into their houses."
In a post on its Facebook page, Complete Works said no-one had been inside its dance studio when the blast happened.
The post said: "We are absolutely devastated that our lovely dance studios were impacted by tonight's events but first and foremost we are so very grateful that no one was in them at the time and now we hope there are no serious injuries and that everyone local is safe."