Thornton Heath: Houses don’t blow up — you have blood on your hands, gas provider told

·2-min read
Thornton Heath: Houses don’t blow up — you have blood on your hands, gas provider told

People forced to leave their homes following an explosion which killed a four-year-old girl have claimed the gas provider “has blood on their hands”.

Sahara Salman died and two people remain in hospital after the blast, which happened in Thornton Heath, south London, shortly after 7am on Monday.

At a community meeting last night in Mitcham, residents said that at least 18 calls were made from Galpin’s Road, where the blast took place, to gas firm SGN about the smell of gas in the days and weeks leading up to the explosion.

Martin Holloway, executive operations director for SGN, told more than 100 residents in the local community centre the firm was “shocked and saddened” about the death of Sahara.

He said: “We send our sincere condolences to her family and the other residents who’ve been injured and affected are absolutely in our thoughts.”

But he added: “While I appreciate it is frustrating given the ongoing police investigation, I’m unable to talk about what happened in the run-up to the explosion. I know that’s difficult because people want answers about what’s happening.”

Residents began shouting at Mr Holloway, who had to stop speaking. Two walked out of the meeting while shouting at the company representative, with one describing the investigation as a “whitewash”. One resident said the company had “blood on their hands”, while another demanded answers, as “houses don’t just blow up”.

Last night’s meeting marked the first time that a representative from SGN had come to speak to those caught up in the blast. Mr Holloway confirmed that “the entire history, both electronic and paper” of all the work carried out by SGN on Galpin’s Road would be available to the police for their investigation.

Locals were told by SGN that the road “would be safe from a gas perspective tomorrow”, and those within the outer cordon will start being able to return to their homes today subject to a sign-off from the Health and Safety Executive.