Four people treated at scene of the Hornchurch explosion
20:36 23 January 2017
Hayley Anderson (Romford Recorder)
Hornchurchh explosion Picture: London Fire Brigade
London Ambulance Service were called just before 5.15pm to reports of the incident.
A spokeswoman said: “We sent a number of resources to the scene including three ambulance crews, our Hazardous Area Response Team, a single responder in a car and a duty manager.
“The first of our medics arrived in under five minutes.”
Paramedics treated four people at the scene who have now been taken to hospital.
They remain at the scene.
'IT WAS CARNAGE' Hornchurch explosion leaves at least five people injured as explosion rips through east London block of flats sparking massive blaze and forcing dozens to be evacuated
Homes in the area have been evacuated with reports of up to 60 firefighters at the scene
By LAUREN FRUEN 23rd January 2017, 8:22 pm
A HUGE explosion in a suspected ‘cannabis factory’ has ripped through a block of flats in Hornchurch and left five people in hospital.
Ten fire engines and more than 70 firefighters are at the scene with dozens of people evacuated from their homes after the blaze quickly spread.
Firefighters battle fire after explosion at block of flats in Hornchurch
Eyewitnesses described 'carnage' after the explosion at a block of flats in Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch with building's shaking and "flames billowing" from the scene.
Reports on Twitter said debris from the blast was "scattered across the A127" after "window frames were blown 70 feet".
A fire service spokesman said the incident took place in a three-storey block and 72 firefighteres were called to the scene.
The London ambulance service confirmed they "treated four patients" who have all been taken to hospital.
It is understood a fifth person admitted themselves to hospital.
One eyewitness - who did not want to be named - told Essex Live: "Allegedly there was a cannabis factory on the ground floor. One chap had two gas canisters that somehow caught fire.
"The fire brigade were called and in ten minutes there were loads here. It looks like he lost control of it.
"The window frames were blown 70 feet."
The Met declined to comment on the claims and said it 'would not speculate' on the cause, the Mail Online reports.
Witness Jason Smedley, 46, was in his office at the time of the explosion.
He said: "We felt the whole building shake," adding that he could soon see "flames billowing".
Mr Smedley said the front of the flats had been "blown out" across the road.
He added: "We pulled people back and told them to get out of the way.
"Unfortunately there was a woman and her daughter, that were in the flat above, that heard the explosion, ran out, and we brought them back ... had just their dressing gowns on, so we just gave them tea and blankets. They've got nowhere to live tonight."
Mr Smedley wrote on Facebook: "Carnage!! Never witnessed anything like that before. We all heard a massive explosion.. ran round to see the front of the house across the a127! Pray that no one was in the flats. Stomach churning!!"
Speaking to MailOnline, he added: "There were people screaming and crying everywhere."
Warren Woodroof, 31, who lives in the flats, said: "There was a big bang overhead. The neighbour was saying 'get the kids out.'
“I ran out and there was smoke in the corridor. I went out with no socks on, and it was freezing cold.
"When we got out the fire was raging."
The blaze was still being tackled by fire crews at 7pm, although the cause of the initial blast had not been confirmed
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: "Ten fire engines and 72 firefighters and officers are dealing with a fire and suspected explosion at a block of flats on A127 South Arterial Road, near Harold Hill, at the junction of Ardleigh Green Road.
"Part of a ground floor flat is alight.
"The Brigade was called at 5.14pm. Fire crews from Harold Hill and surrounding fire stations are at the scene.
"The cause of the fire is not known at this stage."
A police spokesman said: "Police were called at 17:14hrs on Monday, 23 January to reports of an explosion at a block of flats in Ardleigh Green Road. Hornchurch.
"Officers, the London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service are currently at the scene.
"A number of people have sustained injuries."
The police spokesman added: "At this early stage officers are unable to confirm the cause of the explosion but enquires are underway.
"Residents are in the process of being evacuated from the building. The Local Authority has been informed.
"Local road closures are in place. Motorists and pedestrians are advised to avoid the area."
A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We were called just before 5.15pm to reports of an incident at Southend Arterial Road, Hornchurch.
“We sent a number of resources to the scene including three ambulance crews, our Hazardous Area Response Team, a single responder in a car and a duty manager. The first of our medics arrived in under five minutes.
“We have now treated four patients at the scene and taken them all to hospital.
"We remain on scene."
‘No justice’ for former residents of Hornchurch’s Bridge Point flats as police close investigation into explosion
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 September 2017
Hayley Anderson Romford Recorder
Emergency services at the scene of an explosion at Bridge Point, Hornchurch.Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Victoria Jones
The decision by police to close the investigation into the huge Hornchurch flats explosion without charging anyone has been labelled an injustice by furious residents.
Eight months ago this week, the nation’s attention turned to Bridge Point, a block of flats on the A127, as residents reported hearing a “massive bang”.
Passers-by watched as the seven flat building burst into flames.
A flood of emergency services, including more than 70 firefighters, rushed to the scene to tackle the blaze, as well as police and paramedics who took four people to hospital for treatment following the blast.
But this week, police have confirmed that the investigation into the explosion has closed and “the exact cause of the fire cannot be ascertained”.
Former Bridge Point resident Bobbie Leonard, 25, spoke to the Recorder at the time of the blast, describing how she and her boyfriend were watching television when the explosion happened and the walls and ceiling fell down around them.
Bobbie has since moved into a new flat in Hornchurch but says she now suffers with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of what happened.
She was told by police last week the investigation was closed due to “insufficient evidence”.
“I’m devastated to be honest, and that’s an understatement,” she said.
“All of the residents who lived in those flats lost their homes and nothing has been done to punish who caused it.
“I’m getting my life together but I have nightmares daily and sleep is still non-existent.
“We’re still living this nightmare but there’s been no justice.”
Officers investigating the explosion arrested two men aged 25 and 33 on suspicion of arson not long after the incident but both were released with no further action.
Swan Housing Association – the company which runs Bridge Point – has now submitted a planning application to Havering Council to demolish and replace the buildings.
Those who want to return to the flats will be able to when the work is completed.
Bobbie said: “The building’s going to be fixed but that’s not going to help us who lost everything.
“It’s disgusting no one has been held responsible.”
The investigation will be reopened if information comes to light.
Anyone with information is asked to ring 101, or to remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
Why was there a "large quantity of stored Butane canisters" in a residential building?
One could assume the explosion was down to piss-poor management and a Swan-Vesta
Swan Housing Association reveals cause of Hornchurch explosion was ‘gas canister explosion’ after submitting application to rebuild
PUBLISHED: 13:08 19 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:09 19 October 2017
Hayley Anderson Romford Recorder
Damage to flats after an explosion in Ardleigh Green Road
The explosion which ripped through a block of flats in January, leaving residents homeless and terrified, was caused by an exploding gas canister.
Swan Housing Association – which runs the Bridge Point flats on the A127 in Hornchurch – has submitted a planning application for the partial demolition of the building and the reconstruction of the seven flats that were destroyed in the blast.
The planning application is due to be discussed at the regulatory services committee on Thursday, and in documents released on Havering Council’s website ahead of the meeting, the cause is confirmed.
It says: “Earlier this year, part of the building was badly damaged as a result of a gas canister explosion.
“The damage has affected seven of the flats within the eastern block of the development and this part of the building needs to be demolished and re-built to match the existing building.”
Last month, police closed the investigation into the explosion, with no one being charged and claimed the “exact cause of the fire cannot be ascertained”.
A council spokesman says the information outlined in the documents was provided by Swan Housing.
At the time of the explosion, police believed the cause was the “preparation of a type of drug”, but suggestions that a cannabis factory was being run from a flat were soon ruled out by investigators.
A police spokeswoman said the flat where the explosion ignited, contained “A LARGE QUANTITY OF BUTANE GAS CANISTERS”.
She said: “Experts have stated they cannot definitively say whether it was a deliberate or accidental explosion.
“The expert stated using butane in an under-ventilated premises can result in the generation of an explosive atmosphere of butane in air.
“The storage of a large number of butane aerosols, some of which were in a bin liner, was entirely inappropriate.”
Former Bridge Point resident Bobbie Leonard, 25, spoke to the Recorder, describing how she and her boyfriend were watching television when the explosion happened and the flat fell down around them.
She said: “At first I thought a lorry hit the building, the force of the explosion was so strong.”
The planning application will be discussed on Thursday at Havering Town Hall.
Maybe it could be rebuilt subject to no storage of flammable or explosive materials in future and regular health and safety inspections by the management.
Editor’s comment: Why so long to tell us cause of explosion?
PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 October 2017
Lindsay Jones, editor Romford Recorder
Damage to flats after an explosion in Ardleigh Green Road
Three weeks after police closed the investigation into the explosion at the Bridge Point flats in Hornchurch, saying “the exact cause of the fire cannot be ascertained” and no one would be held accountable, Swan Housing Association announces it was caused by a gas canister.
It seems like a lack of communication.
The residents who lost their homes, and the others who were shocked and shaken by what happened in January have waited all this time to find out what happened and why.
Why has it taken so long and how did the police not know this before? This week they say there were a number of gas canisters in the flat where the blast happened.
At least there finally seems to be some movement on rebuilding the flats which were damaged.
Those seven homes have been empty for nine months – at a time when so many people are looking for somewhere to live.
The sooner Swan can demolish the wreckage and rebuild the better.
Another lack of communication is highlighted in the latest episode in the Orchard Village saga.
What a mess that estate in Rainham is in.
Yesterday (Thurs), residents were expecting to be without running water and heating for a second time in a month to allow for planned maintenance work.
When our reporter asked Circle Housing Association – which manages the estate – what the work was we were told (rightly, as it turned out) that it was being done by energy company SSE.
When we asked SSE what was happening we were told it had no record of any work and we should contact Essex and Suffolk Water.
Essex and Suffolk Water said it was nothing to do with them.
We then obtained a copy of the letter sent to residents from SSE saying it would be carrying out planned maintenance work.
It’s easy to see why the Orchard residents are so frustrated if they get that runaround every time there is an issue on the estate.
And, as we have reported many times, there are plenty of issues.