Southgate station explosion: Screaming Tube passengers fled in stampede after battery blast, witnesses say

Tom Powell

Terrified witnesses today told how a stampede broke out when a battery pack exploded at a packed north London Tube station.

Screams rang out as Londoners dashed for the exit at Southgate station, in Enfield, after reports of a “massive bang” on Tuesday evening.

Five people were injured in the explosion, which police now believe to have been caused by a battery short circuit.

James Ayton, 34, was on the "packed" escalator when he saw a "quick burst" of flames at the top and said everyone "legged it".

"A few people got trampled on on the escalator,” he added. “There was screaming.”

Police attend the scene after several people were injured in the explosion (REUTERS)

"An old woman got trampled on. I had to carry a woman up the stairs. I think she was in shock to be honest. She couldn't walk, shaking."

One witness told The Sun how flames were leaping up the escalator as she left the station.

She said: "I was on the top of the escalator and there was this massive bang.

"Everyone was like: 'What was that?'. Then I heard people screaming. By that point I had stepped off the escalator and was going to tap out.

"I turned around and the whole of the escalator was in flames. It was all so quick.

"There were still a lot of people down there and I started hyperventilating."

Five people were injured in the explosion (PA)

Haluk Ozkan was about to get on a bus outside the station when he smelt something burning and saw people charging out of the station.

The finance worker, 26, told the BBC: "We could smell a burning smell, like burning rubber. We thought the bus engine had over-heated.

"We then saw people rushing to get out of the station. Not necessarily running or panicking, but moving quickly.

"Then my partner saw a station staff member pointing a fire extinguisher at something and heard it go off, but we didn't see what it was directed at."

One man wrote on Twitter: "Fire in Southgate Tube Station escalator. I had to carry a woman over the middle onto the stairs and then up the stairs. Flare or electrics my guess. That was a bit terrifying.

"Some poor old lady was nearly trampled over till we calmed those running down the escalator."

Witnesses described fleeing up the escalator (PA)

London Ambulance Service said two people had been taken to hospital and three others were treated at the scene in north London for minor injuries.

The Metropolitan Police said: "It appears at this stage that the cause of the explosion was a battery short circuit.

"The Met Police and BTP (British Transport Police) are working together to establish the full facts."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan praised emergency services for "a swift and professional response" to the incident.

British Transport Police (BTP) confirmed the incident was not believed to be terror-related.