Firefighters are searching for bodies after a suspected gas explosion ripped through a shop in west London this morning.
Specialist urban search and rescue crews are painstakingly sifting through rubble this afternoon in a ‘complex’ operation after the blast caused parts of the building to collapse at 6.20am.
Station Commander Paul Morgan said he believed there were ‘fatalities’ inside the Ealing property but could not say how many.
Earlier a child and four adults were rescued from the back of the shop using a ladder while more than a dozen people were evacuated from neighbouring buildings.
Mr Morgan said: ‘Our crews continue to search the property using specialist equipment including the use of dogs.‘
A man has been left injured and a child was rescued after a suspected gas explosion ripped through a shop in Ealing, west London
Emergency services at the scene of a suspected gas explosion on King Street in Ealing, west London. Rescuers are involved in a ‘complex’ search for anyone who may still be inside the collapsed building
He added: ‘Sadly we believe that there are fatalities within the property although we’re unable to confirm numbers at this stage. 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. We’d ask for people to avoid the area at this time.
‘In the initial stages firefighters rescued four adults and one child at the rear of the property using a ladder.
‘A further fourteen adults and two children self evacuated from surrounding properties.’
Initially there were reports of a man left injured and a child rescued following the suspected gas explosion.
Earlier a child and four adults were rescued from the back of the shop using a ladder while more than a dozen people were evacuated from neighbouring buildings
The explosion happened at a barbers and phone shop on King Street in Ealing around 6.20am this morning
Fire crew members are continuing to search the property using specialist equipment including the use of dogs
Video footage of the blast was posted on social media showing firefighters climbing inside the building to evacuate a person trapped inside a flat on the top floor.
Emergency workers are involved in a “complex” and “painstaking” operation as they continue to search for anyone who may still be inside after the incident on Wednesday.
The owner of the mobile phone shop Jatinder Singh, 36, was given the devastating news by a neighbour before heading to the scene.
He said Dr Phone was completely destroyed by the explosion and said he was shocked to see the caranage on arrival.
‘It’s an absolute mess,’ Mr Singh told the Standard.
‘I’m not sure what happened, I’m in shock. My landlord is in there now looking he is in shock too. I don’t know if anyone was hurt or who was living upstairs. There is too much I have lost in there.’
The owner of the mobile phone shop Jatinder Singh, 36, was given the devastating news by a neighbour before heading to the scene
In the initial stages firefighters rescued four adults and one child from the rear of the property using a ladder
Firefighters are working systematically to stabilise the building from further collapse as well as search for people involved
He added: ‘I locked up my shop as usual last night and didn’t think anything was wrong. Then I got a phone call from a neighbour to get down here that my shop was totally destroyed.
‘I’m ok, I’m not hurt. The police have a special dog team and are keeping everyone away.’
Fire investigation officers have cordoned off the King Street area as they start to piece together what happened.
A local business owner said: ‘There was a huge bang like an explosion. My shop shook. We hear there are injuries… it’s a shock to us all.’
Another said: ‘We have been told a gas canister exploded. There are police and firefighters everywhere. We are hoping everyone we know there is ok. It’s a very close knit community.’
As they carried out their investigation, the London Fire Brigade explained there has been a structural collapse of the building which involved a shop with flats above.
The painstaking task of finding fatalities is ongoing following the suspected gas explosion in Ealing this morning
Station Commander Alan Brand, who is at the scene said: ‘Four adults and one child were rescued at the rear of the property by firefighters using a ladder.
‘A further fourteen adults and two children self evacuated from surrounding properties. Specialist crews are searching the building for anyone else that may be involved.
‘This is an on going operation and I would ask that people avoid the area if possible.’
Around 40 firefighters Southall, Hayes, Heston, Ealing and Feltham fire stations are at the scene.
Earlier a Metropolitan Police spokesman said they were not treating the explosion as suspicious.
He added: ‘A large explosion was found to have taken place inside a shop. One man was found injured. Road closures have been put in place and nearby residents have been evacuated.’
‘At this early stage, it is believed to be a gas explosion and is not being treated as suspicious.’
A spokesman said the windows of the shop were ‘completely blown out’ in the incident.