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Child dies after explosion in Thornton Heath

The cause of the fire and explosion is not known at this time.

08 August 2022

A child has died after a terraced home collapsed following an explosion and fire in south London.

London Ambulance Service confirmed the child had died after the incident in Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath on Monday morning.

No further details have been given.

Thornton Heath incident
Soft toys and a lampost are seen in an exposed room of a property in Galpin’s Road (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “This morning, alongside colleagues from London Fire Brigade, we attended an incident in Galpin’s Road, Thornton Heath.

“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.”

A resident has described the children who lived in the house as “lively” and “happy”.

Maureen Clare, 74, told the PA news agency that there were four children and a mother living in the terrace house in Croydon.

Ms Clare, who lives opposite and was visibly shaken by the incident, told PA: “They’re very lively kids.

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

London Fire Brigade (LFB) deputy assistant commissioner Richard Welch, who is at the scene in Thornton Heath, said in a statement: “Firefighters carried out a search of the property and sadly, a child was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Our thoughts are with their family, friends and the local community at this time.”

Around 40 properties have been evacuated as a precaution by LFB and a 50-metre cordon is in place.

Dozens of residents gathered beside a police cordon on the end of the street hours after the explosion, which was reported at 7.08am.

Thornton Heath incident
Emergency services at the scene in Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

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.

Many also said they reported a strong gas smell in the area which had persisted for around two weeks.

Residents added that 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, have been called “heroes” after they rescued three children from the house moments after the blast.

LFB has said the cause of the explosion is unknown.

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