Thornton Heath house collapse: Child dies after property destroyed by explosion near Croydon

Video from Thornton Heath Chronicle

A child has died and four others have been injured after a terraced home collapsed following an explosion and fire in south London. London Ambulance Service confirmed the child, thought to be aged 4, died after the incident in Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath on Monday morning. A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We treated four people. One was discharged on scene and three others were taken to hospital. Sadly, a child was also pronounced dead at the scene.

“All London Ambulance Service crews have now been stood down.”

'Mischievous and bouncing around'

A resident has described the children who lived in the house as “lively” and “happy”. Maureen Clare, 74, said there were four children and a mother living in the terrace house. Ms Clare, who lives opposite and was visibly shaken by the incident, said: “They’re very lively kids.

“They were always mischievous, happy and bouncing around.”

Several people, who had been evacuated in their pyjamas, said their windows were shattered early on Monday morning by the force of the explosion.

The cause of the explosion is being investigated but some said they reported a strong gas smell two weeks ago, and others said they had been feeling dizzy and sick.

Soft toys and a lampost are seen in an exposed room of a property in Galpin's Road in Thornton Heath, south London, where a house collapsed Credit: Press Association

'Biggest bang you'll hear'

One resident, who lives on nearby Carisbrooke Road, said: "I heard the explosion at 7am, it was just the biggest bang you'll ever hear. "So I went down the road to see what happened this morning and the whole house is gone, people living nearby said all their windows shook. "There was police, fire engines, a helicopter going around overhead. There's not actually a fire from what I saw but you can still really smell gas, even two roads away where I am. They're evacuating people from the houses nearby as they're worried about another explosion. "There was a little girl of about 10 or 11 stood outside with a blanket bless her, god knows how she got out of that but she's being treated for burns. "They were saying her older brother was still inside but he later got taken out OK I think."

'Frightened life out of me'

Another neighbour said: "The bang frightened the life out of me. I'm opposite Galpins. They have the helicopter circling and can hear sirens." Another added: "I don’t even live close but I thought I heard a massive bang around that time and couldn’t figure out what it could be." LFB said in a statement: "Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters have been called to a fire and explosion on Galpins Road in Thornton Heath. "A terraced house has collapsed following an explosion and neighbouring properties have also been damaged. Two people have been rescued. "The Brigade's 999 Control Officers have taken 14 calls to the incident. "The Brigade was called at 0708. Fire crews from Norbury, Mitcham, West Norwood, Woodside and surrounding fire stations are at the scene. "The cause of the fire and explosion is not known at this time."

Ruins of a house in South London after an explosion

Some residents said they reported a strong gas smell in the area which had persisted for around two weeks. Responding to the claim in a press conference, London Fire Brigade's Richard Welch said: “Unfortunately we can’t say if it’s gas that’s caused it. It will become a police investigation now. “We dealt with the emergency phase of the incident and we will be handing it over to local authorities and local police.” Residents added that engineers had been working on the street but had not been seen for a few days.

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