A firefighter cradles a rescued baby after a suspected gas explosion tore through a building killing two people.
London Fire Brigade said two were pronounced dead following the blast in King Street at 6.30am yesterday which destroyed the shop, along with a neighbouring hair salon, and sent shattered glass across the road.
The one-year-old girl was with her parents and another relative in an upstairs room. The family were rescued by firefighters and cared for at a nearby temple before leaving to recover at a relative’s home. Another 16 residents were evacuated from near the blast site.
Harmeet Singh, of the Southall Singh Sabha Gurdwara temple, said: “The firefighters did so well. As a community, we thank you. The family are all OK. There were four of them in that floor.”
Jatinder Singh, whose shop Dr Phone was “totally destroyed”, said he was “in shock” because he had “lost everything”.
Mr Singh said: “I don’t know what happened. I was told I couldn’t go to the shop, but you can see from the pictures it’s totally destroyed. I don’t know how to explain how I’m feeling. I have lost everything. I don’t know what to say — I’m in shock. I’m really scared that now I don’t know how to survive.”
Another neighbour said the explosion “shook the bones” of her house, and “sounded like a bomb had gone off”.
A huge cordon was put up around King Street. Fire investigators were today combing through the burned out shell . Gas experts and police have been working alongside the fire crews.
Station Commander Paul Morgan said: “It has been a painstaking and protracted incident with firefighters working systematically to stabilise the building and search for people involved. We can confirm that sadly two people have died at the scene.
“The explosion caused substantial damage to the shop and structural damage throughout. In the initial stages, four adults and one child were rescued at the rear of the property using a ladder. A further 14 adults and two children self-evacuated from surrounding properties.”