Two men arrested on suspicion of arson after Hornchurch flats explosion

PUBLISHED: 07:44 24 January 2017 | UPDATED: 07:44 24 January 2017

Scene from the Hornchurch explosion. Picture: Jack Duggins

Scene from the Hornchurch explosion. Picture: Jack Duggins

Jack Duggins

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson following the explosion at the block of flats in Hornchurch last night.

The aftermath of the explosion in Hornchurch. Picture: Brian NichollsThe aftermath of the explosion in Hornchurch. Picture: Brian Nicholls

Police were called at 5.14pm to reports of an explosion at the flats in Ardleigh Green Road and were soon joined by firefighters and London Ambulance Service at the scene.

A number of people sustained injuries and four people were taken to hospital for treatment - two of them were men who were then arrested on suspicion of arson.

More than 70 firefighters and 10 fire engines from Harold Hill, Hornchurch, Romford, Ilford, Dagenham, Barking and Wennington and other surrounding fire stations were at the scene.

Part of the ground floor, second floor and roof of the block was damaged by fire and one end of the three storey building suffered a partial collapse.

A specialist urban search and rescue dog from Essex Fire and Rescue Service was used to search the collapsed area.

Firefighters used a ladder to rescue a woman and child from the second floor and another woman was assisted to the ground floor by crews via an external staircase.

A further 22 people were evacuated from the building.

Station manager Paul McClenaghan who was at the scene said: “Crews worked hard to get the fire under control and are now making efforts to ensure the structure of the building is safe.

“Firefighters will remain at the scene damping down any remaining pockets of fire for some time.”

The fire was under control by 10.04pm and remained at the scene throughout the night.

At this early stage, officers are unable to confirm the cause of the explosion but enquires are underway.

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