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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

Damage to flats after an explosion in Ardleigh Green Road

Damage to flats after an explosion in Ardleigh Green Road

Archant

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.

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