Thornton Heath gas explosion: what happened at South London house as tributes paid to 4-year-old girl who died

Sahara Salman died following the explosion in Thornton Heath, Croydon.

The mum of a four-year-old girl who died in a gas explosion has said her “world has been torn apart”.

The girl, named as Sahara Salman, died after a terraced house collapsed in Galpin’s Road, Thornton Heath, south London shortly after 7am on Monday.

London Ambulance Service confirmed the child had died after the incident in Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath on Monday morning.

The house in Thornton Heath collapsed after an explosion occurred early this morning. As well as firefighters, police and paramedics were also called out to the site of the explosion.

Three other people were injured in the blast.

What tributes have been paid to Sahara?


Sahara’s mum, Sana Ahmad, told the Evening Standard her “world has been torn apart” by her daughter’s death, and paid tribute to her “incredible little girl”.

Meanwhile, family friend Thoheed Maricar said: “She was a happy girl. She played around a lot and was very active.”

He added: ““I feel very, very sad about what has happened. It is just a terrible situation.”

Bunches of flowers and around 10 teddy bears had been laid at the scene and tributes were scrawled in chalk across a nearby pavement in dedication to the little girl.

What happened in Croydon?

Just after 7am on Monday 8 August, firefighters were called to the scene of a fire on Galpin’s Road, Croydon, following an explosion.


A statement released at 7:08am by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) said that “six fire engines and around 40 firefighters” were dispatched to the location in Thornton Heath.

Gas staff at scene in Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath, south London, where a house has collapsed amid a fire and explosion (Photo: PA/Dominic Lipinski)

Fire crews from Norbury, Mitcham, West Norwood, Woodside and surrounding fire stations attended the scene.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed officers were also at the scene and the London Ambulance Service added that it too was responding to the incident, with a “number of resources on the scene”.

The LFB has said that “the cause of the fire and explosion is not known at this time”, however some local residents have said that they had reported a strong smell of gas two weeks ago, with others adding that they had been feeling dizzy and sick over the last two days.

An unnamed resident of two years also told the Mirror that he was instructed to leave the area due to a “gas explosion”.


Handout photo issued by the London Fire Brigade of members of their Urban Search and Rescue team at the scene in Galpin’s Road (Photo: PA/London Fire Brigade)

He said: “I woke up so suddenly, I didn’t know what had happened.

“I opened my front door and the house was gone. There are two kids who live there but I don’t know the family.

“I started filming as firefighters showed up and police said I had to leave because of a gas explosion.”


Emergency services at the scene in Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath, south London (Photo: PA/Dominic Lipinski)

How many houses have been damaged?

A terraced house collapsed after the explosion, with a number of neighbouring properties also damaged.

Pictures from the scene showed the roof of one house completely destroyed, with debris scattered across the street as a result of the explosion.

Other pictures showed damage made to the shared walls of neighbouring homes.

Police at the scene on Wednesday morning said the gas supply to the road has been turned off, and they are waiting for the gas to dissipate before allowing residents to return to their homes.


Six to eight homes were damaged by the blast, but around 80 homes were evacuated after the cordon was extended on Tuesday over fears for residents’ safety.

The council has provided assistance to more than 200 residents, including helping with food and accommodation.

Residents are likely to be in hotels for weeks.

Emergency services at the scene in Galpin’s Road (Photo: PA/Dominic Lipinski)