People feared dead after explosion at shop in west London

Specialist equipment and sniffer dogs are being used to search through rubble after a gas explosion at a shop in west London – but the fire brigade has said they believe people have died.

The explosion happened underneath flats in the Southall area.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said crews were undertaking a “complex operation” at the scene – and a child and four adults have already been rescued.

Station Commander Paul Morgan said: “Our crews continue to search the property using specialist equipment including the use of a USAR dogs.

“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 were rescued at the rear of the property using a ladder. A further 14 adults and two children self evacuated from surrounding properties.”

LFB said they were called just before 6.40am, adding that six fire engines and about 40 firefighters are at the scene.

A spokesman said the windows of the shop were “completely blown out” in the incident.

The Metropolitan Police said the incident is not being treated as suspicious and is believed to be a gas explosion.

The force said a large explosion was found to have taken place inside a shop and a man was found injured.

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said they have treated and discharged one person, and they are continuing to work with other emergency services at the scene.

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