Gas Explosion Update: Nine Residents Rehomed

Witnesses report hearing enormous bang

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Gas Explosion in Hammersmith

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Nine residents of Riverside Gardens have been rehoused following the gas explosion which ripped through the estate on August 14.

Their homes were so badly damaged by the explosion they make take months to repair.

Residents of the estate, next to Talgarth Road, say they smelled gas early in the morning of Thursday August 13, and called engineers to investigate.

They then heard an enormous bang at around 11.20am and saw smoke rising from the building.

Fire-fighters rushing to investigate a reported gas leak arrived seconds after the explosion. The gas engineers already on the scene had a lucky escape as the building caught fire.

Senior fire officer Mark McHenry said: " The engineer was directly in front, but luckily he had gone into his van to get his detection equipment when the flat exploded. It really has been miraculous that nobody has been seriously injured."

As the explosion scattered debris across Macbeth Street, breaking the windows of the Macbeth Centre across the street, Hammersmith and Fulham council initiated their emergency plan. Around 100 people were evacuated as fire crews fought the blaze, which was under control by 12.32 pm.

A number of residents were treated for shock at the site, but fortunately no one was seriously injured.

Cllr Lucy Ivimy, H&F Council Cabinet Member for Housing, said: " The fire crews and other emergency services were on site very quickly and H&F Homes and council officers sprang into action very effectively.

" The scene of the explosion is just yards away from Hammersmith town hall so some officers were on the site within two minutes. "

Experts believe the explosion originated from number 174, although forensic scientists from National Grid are still examining the cause. Despite the fact that nine properties are currently uninhabitable, a structural engineer has confirmed that the block is safe. The windows of the Macbeth Centre also need to be repaired.

Cllr Ivimy concludes: " All of the flats in question had up-to-date Gas Safety Certificates so we are waiting to see what National Grid say the cause of the blast was. The good news is that nobody was hurt and all residents affected by the blast are being offered suitable accommodation until the flats are made habitable again. "

If you smell gas or are worried about gas safety, you should call the National Grid emergency number for free on 0800 111 999 at any time, day or night. If you are deaf or hearing impaired and you have a minicom or text phone, the number to call is 0800 371 787.