Thornton Heath explosion: Cordon extended over gas fears at scene of blast

·2-min read
Engineers at the scene of the explosion on Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath  (PA )
Engineers at the scene of the explosion on Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath (PA )

The cordon at the scene of a fatal explosion in Thornton Heath has doubled in size this afternoon amid new fears of a gas leak.

A spokesperson for London Fire Brigade said the cordon has been increased on the advice of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) due to elevated gas readings in the area.

Four police cars rushed to the scene within the space of 15 minutes, while residents living in properties within the new cordon are not being allowed back into their homes.

MyLondon quoted one woman as responding: “I’ve got to get to work, what do you mean?”

It comes after a child was killed in the suspected gas explosion on Monday morning on Galpin’s Road.

London Ambulance Service said three people were being treated in hospital following the explosion but a child was pronounced dead at the scene.

Many neighbours said they reported a strong gas smell in the area which had persisted for around two weeks.

Residents said gas engineers had been working on the street but had not been seen for a few days.

The scene in Galpin’s Road (PA)
The scene in Galpin’s Road (PA)

Local residents Delroy Simms, 62, and Kutoya Kukanda, 50, have been called “heroes” after they rescued three children from the house moments after the blast.

Mr Simms, dressed in his pyjamas by the cordon, said: “I was getting ready to go to work when I heard the explosion.

“I already knew what it was because that gas was smelling all week, really strong. It was giving me a headache yesterday.

“My neighbour has been calling them (gas engineers) all week.”

He said the explosion felt like “an earthquake” and in the days before the gas smell had been so strong that “you could taste it”.

“We looked out of the window, and the house opposite had just gone - just rubble and debris,” he said.