House collapses amid fire and explosion in Croydon

2 mins read
House collapses amid fire and explosion in Croydon

A four-year-old girl is feared missing after a house collapsed in an explosion in Thornton Heath, according to neighbours.Three people have been taken to hospital after an explosion in a property on Galpin’s Road on Monday morning, with around 40 firefighters and six fire engines continuing to tackle the blaze. The Brigade said a terraced house had collapsed and neighbouring properties had been damaged.In an update, shortly before 11am, firefighters said three people had been rescued and taken to hospital, another was treated at scene.A member of Merton Council at the scene told the PA news agency he believed a four-year-old girl was still inside the property. Several residents also raised concerns for a woman living in the house next door, which was damaged by the blast, after her husband was seen searching for her.Dozens of residents gathered beside a police cordon on the end of the street hours later said they believed a woman and four children had lived in the collapsed house.Many also 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.Galpin’s Road residents Delroy Simms, 62, and Kutoya Kukanda, 50, were branded “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.””When I heard the explosion it was like an earthquake. It shook me up, and my house. The shutters on our windows blew off their hinges.”I went to the window and saw the devastation.”Mr Simms said that Mr Kukanda passed children out to him as bricks were still falling from the structure.Mr Kukanda, who had a bruise on his shin from a falling brick, told PA: “I heard boom, then I opened the door.”I saw smoke, the house had collapsed, and people were screaming inside. I went inside and took the first baby – there were three children.”I took one of the children, gave it to him (Mr Simms). The mother was screaming and saying: ‘One of my daughters is still inside’. Everything was falling.”PAFirefighters were called at 7.08am, with crews from Norbury, Mitcham, West Norwood, Woodside and surrounding fire stations at the scene.The Brigade’s 999 Control Officers have taken 13 calls to the incident, it said. The cause of the fire and explosion is currently unknown.Police and paramedics were also called to the explosion.One resident said on social media: “I heard it whilst getting ready for work and thought it sounded like an explosion but was hoping I was wrong and that it was at a building site or something.”Another added: “That was one loud bang thought a bomb had gone off”.A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We have treated four patients at an incident in Galpins Road, Thornton Heath. One was discharged on scene and three others were taken to hospital.“We remain on scene with our emergency service colleagues.”Members of the London Fire Brigade Urban Search and Rescue team at the scene in Galpin’s Road in Thornton / PAA Merton Council spokesperson added: “Emergency services are on site following a gas explosion at a residential property, at least one property has been destroyed. We are urging people to avoid the area.“Firefighters are currently carrying out systematic searches and working to make the scene safe.”An evacuation centre has been established at the nearby New Horizons community centre.Read More

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