Passer-by tells of how he stopped to help after explosion at Hornchurch flats

PUBLISHED: 23:08 23 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:53 25 January 2017

Bridge Point, Hornchurch.

Bridge Point, Hornchurch.

Sam Brown

A passer-by speaks to the Recorder about her initial reaction to try and help those in need after the explosion.

A 24-year-old man from Basildon, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he heard a “massive bang” when approaching the traffic lights near where the incident took place in Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch.

He said: “We heard a massive bang and what sounded like something metal hitting the side of our van.

“At first, our thought was that I had run over one of the metal roadwork signs but I then looked in my rear view mirror and noticed the guy behind had stopped and was out of his car.

“I thought maybe he had hit us so we got out of the van to see what had happened and there was glass everywhere.

“The car behind had smashed windows and if the parts had hit the wrong place, I’m pretty sure someone would have been seriously injured.”

The 24-year-old soon realised the seriousness of the situation when he saw people exiting the block of flats.

He said: “We decided we were going to try and help out in anyway we could and went to talk to the people leaving the building to see if anyone was trapped as we had tools with us and could have assisted with breaking doors if needs be.

“It seemed everyone was out of the building according to a resident so we focussed on blocking the oncoming traffic to ensure no one else could come down the road except emergency services who quickly turned up.”

“My initial reaction was shock.

“It was hard to take in that the front of the building was just crumbling away.”

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