The four-year-old girl who died in the massive explosion in Thornton Heath on Monday morning has been named as Sahara Salman.
Three other people were taken to hospital on Monday with life-threatening injuries after a terraced house collapsed in the blast and other neighbouring buildings also suffered damage.
Electricity and gas supplies have been turned off to homes in and around Galpins Road, as the police yesterday extended the cordoned-off area at the request of the Health and Safety Executive, which had detected elevated gas readings.
Neither the police nor the London Fire Brigade have yet confirmed that the explosion was caused by gas, as investigations and searches of the area continued into Tuesday.
Merton Council, though, said the blast was caused by gas, describing it as a “major incident”.
Residents say they reported a strong smell of gas two weeks ago and recently saw engineers working in the area.
Some suggested that an emergency call was made on Sunday, and that SGN, Southern Gas Networks, the company responsible for maintaining the gas infrastructure, had said that they would have a crew on site by 11am on Monday morning. The explosion occurred just after 7am on Monday.
The MP, Siobhain McDonagh, said Southern Gas Networks had “very serious questions to answer”. The Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden said: “There is a lot of anger around SGN and delays in resolving the gas leak.”
Around 200 residents from more than 80 homes have been evacuated and provided with emergency accommodation and assistance by Merton Council. Those displaced are likely to be in hotels for weeks, the council said.
Yesterday, Merton Council leader Ross Garrod said, “There is still a strong smell of gas and we understand the leak may take some days to stop. I would like to stress that this is a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of residents.
“We are also facing real challenges, not least the response of insurance companies, many of whom are refusing basic accommodation for homeowners.”
SGN said its “deepest sympathies are with the family of the child who has tragically died as well as those who have been injured.
“We’d like to reassure everyone that our engineers are working closely with the emergency services to establish the cause of the explosion.”
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