Sadly, two people are now confirmed to have died in a gas explosion this morning on Bath Road in Hounslow.
Three houses collapsed and two others were damaged following the explosion this morning, which is believed to have been caused by a ruptured gas main. Five people and three dogs escaped from the properties before firefighters arrived and a man and two women were taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service. Unfortunately the bodies of two people were found by urban search and rescue (USAR) crews, who searched the properties for any survivors.
Twenty five people were evacuated from surrounding properties as a precaution. Fire crews rescued a dog from one of the houses.
The USAR crews, who are trained to deal with collapsed buildings such as those affected by major disasters like earthquakes, are working to make the area safe.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, said:
“My thoughts are with the friends, family and loved ones of those who lost their lives in Hounslow today.
“Firefighters and investigators remain at the scene to establish what caused the gas explosion.
“It’s been a busy and challenging day for our firefighters, officers, and control officers but all have performed admirably. I would like to pay tribute to all of the emergency service workers who have been on duty in the capital today.”
Station Manager Matt Burrows, who was at the scene shortly after the incident, said:
“Three houses were completely destroyed in the blast, debris was scattered over an area of about 50 metres, and the roof of one of the houses was in a tree across the road. Highly trained search and rescue crews searched through the rubble with sniffer dogs, and sadly two people were found dead.
“We’re still investigating whether the fallen tree caused the gas explosion or whether the gas explosion caused the tree to fall. It’s likely firefighters will be on scene for much of the rest of the day.”
Six fire engines were at the scene at the height of the incident, along with a number of specialist vehicles. The Brigade was called at 0735 and the incident is expected to be protracted.
The cause of the fire and explosion is under investigation by the Brigade’s fire investigation unit, as well as the National Grid.
Storm incidents attended by the Brigade
The London Fire Brigade said that between 0600 and 0900 this morning it received 412 emergency calls, leading to fire engines and other fire brigade vehicles being sent to 310 incidents across the capital. The majority of incidents were to trees in precarious positions, such as on buildings and in roads.
Other incidents attended included:
- A crane that toppled over in Whitehall.
- Firefighters rescued two men from inside a synagogue on Clapton Common after a chimney stack fell onto it, causing the roof to partially collapse. Firefighters broke through a wall to rescue one of the men.
- Metal framework in a precarious position on Old Broad Street in the City.
- A gazebo blew into a house on Kensington Gardens in llford. The flying marquee caused superficial structural damage to the house.
- A burst water main on Uxbridge Road in Shepherds Bush.