London Fire Brigade

Merton - shop explosion

13 December 2011

London firefighters have issued a warning to people using air fresheners near candles after an explosion in a pharmacy was caused by staff dealing with a dead rat.

When pharmacy staff arrived at work yesterday afternoon (Monday 12 December) they discovered a smell caused by a dead rat behind some units at the shop. Unable to find the dead rodent the staff lit a scented candle on the floor near the smelliest point.

A little while later with the smell continuing, a pharmacist sprayed air freshener near the candle which caused an explosion. The explosion blew the front of the shop out and caused a false ceiling to collapse. A member of staff suffered from slight burns to their hands and face and was taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service crews. Another member of staff was treated for shock. 

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said:

“Never spray air freshener or deodorant near a candle or naked flame, as we’ve seen here the results can be extremely dangerous.”

Two fire engines, a fire rescue unit and around 15 firefighters were called to the explosion on Abbey Parade in Merton at just after 12.30 on Monday.