Two people have died after a suspected gas explosion caused a building to collapse in west London.
The blast is believed to have happened at about 6.20am this morning in an Ealing phone shop and barbers, which have flats above them.
Devastated business owners said they have lost everything and were in shock at the collapse this afternoon. One said they felt the entire building shake before it came crashing down.
Around 40 firefighters and six engines rushed to the scene shortly after to start pulling adults and children from the rubble.
Five people, including a child, were rescued from the back of the property using a ladder. Another two children and 14 adults managed to escape from the surrounding properties.
But after crews scoured the building with sniffer dogs, another two people were found. They were confirmed dead at the scene.
Owner of Dr Phone, a shop damaged by the explosion, said he was ‘shocked’ when a neighbour called to tell him what happened.
He told the Evening Standard: ‘It’s an absolute mess. I don’t know if anyone was hurt or who was living upstairs. There is too much I have lost in there.
‘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.’
Another business owner says his shop ‘shook’, adding: ‘We hear there are injuries. It’s a shock to us all.’
London Fire Brigade said the suspected explosion caused ‘substantial damage’ to the shop and ‘structural damage’ throughout the building.
Station commander Paul Morgan said: ‘We can confirm that sadly two people have died at the scene.
‘It has been a painstaking and protracted incident with firefighters working systematically to stabilise the building and search for people involved.
‘Operations have been concluded for the evening and will restart in the morning.’
Met Police said the blast is not being treated as suspicious.
The force warned people to keep away from the area and road closures are in place.
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