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Southall: Two people killed in shop gas explosion

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media captionMore than a dozen people have been evacuated from nearby properties

Two people have been killed in a suspected gas explosion at a shop in west London, firefighters have said.

The blast happened in a hair salon and mobile phone shop on King Street, Southall, just after 06:30 BST.

Four adults and a child are known to have been rescued by the London Fire Brigade (LFB).

Earlier, the Metropolitan Police said one man was found injured. The blast is not being treated as suspicious, the force said.

image copyrightGoogle
image captionThe explosion has damaged the Dr Phone shop and the Chandla Hair Salon on King Street

Station Commander Paul Morgan said: "Our crews continue to search the property using specialist equipment including the use of urban search-and-rescue dogs.

"We can confirm that sadly two people have died at the scene.

"The explosion caused substantial damage to the shop and structural damage throughout.

"It is a painstaking and protracted incident with firefighters working systematically to stabilise the building and search for people involved."

image copyrightPA Media
image captionLondon Fire Brigade sent about 40 firefighters to the scene

LFB said search and rescue operations have finished for the evening and will restart in the morning.

Jatinder Sing, the owner of Dr Phone, said he was in "total shock" when he received a call about the blast.

'Lost everything'

The 36-year-old said: "They have closed off everything. It seems like an explosion of a gas cylinder and there is a flat upstairs and my shop is downstairs.

"I was shocked because my shop looks totally dead, finished and the same with the barber.

"I can't see anything from where I am standing apart from the the shutter and the main door, which is all trashed.

"I have lost my everything. We were struggling from the coronavirus period as well - too much stock in the shop and no sales for a long time so I don't know how we will survive."

image copyrightPA Media
image captionRescuers are involved in a "complex" search for anyone who might still be inside the collapsed building

Resident Nurmila Hamid who lives nearby said she felt the blast as she was getting her children ready for school.

The 38-year-old said: "The house shook, and I turned to my husband and said 'what is that?'

"And he said, 'It's a blast' and he went to look after taking the children to school - he said it was at a phone shop."

Mohammad Rafiq, 78, who lives two streets away, said he and his 76-year-old wife felt "shocked" and "scared" when the noise from the King Street blast woke them at their home.

He said: "I heard it in the morning - it woke me up, it was scary. It sounded like a very dangerous blast so I was scared.

"We didn't sleep after that."

At the scene

BBC London's Guy Lynn

image copyrightPA Media
image captionSixteen people are known to have been evacuated from nearby properties

I have counted 25 firefighters here sifting through the wreckage on King Street with the police this morning.

The explosion has also shut off a number of streets, with the police on the scene to prevent people approaching the scene.

It is a clear scene of devastation of several shops and flats, which the London Fire Brigade have called a "structural collapse". Sadly, it looks as though the explosion may have claimed a few lives.

A further 14 adults and two children evacuated themselves from nearby properties after the blast.

LFB was called at 06:38 and sent about 40 firefighters to the scene. It advised people to avoid the King Street area while the search continues.

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said paramedics had treated and discharged one person.

Ealing Council said it had switched off the electricity and gas supply to some homes and businesses in the area and warned more properties might need to be evacuated.

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Related Topics

  • Southall
  • Ealing