Four people have been injured in a suspected gas explosion at a block of flats in south London.
Shocked neighbours reported hearing a loud blast at 7.25am in Earlsfield, with emergency services rushing to the scene.
A man in his 70s was taken to hospital by paramedics, while three more people were treated at the scene.
Firefighters carried the most seriously injured victim of a gas explosion from the wreckage of his flat, according to eye-witnesses.
The man was one of two people taken to hospital after the blast destroyed a ground floor flat at a three-storey council block.
Dramatic pictures show windows of a ground floor flat blasted out, with debris strewn across the road.
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A 25 metre cordon has been put in place around the building.
A stunned neighbour has described it as “carnage”, saying his home shook when it happened.
Jack Hardman, who lives opposite the three-storey block of flats, told Mirror Online: “The whole house shook literally.
“It was big, big enough for all my guitars to fall to the floor in my room. Then I heard all the car alarms in the area go off and within two minutes, there were loads of sirens.”
The 29-year-old music composer left his flat to help.
He said: “It was carnage, bloody carnage. The fire engines got there within five minutes. There must have been seven police cars and two fire engines. I’m not sure about ambulances but it was carnage.”
An eye witness told how firefighters rescued him from the rubble.
Local pub worker George Lepley, 24, said: “At 7.30am I jumped out of bed faster than I ever had in my life.
“There was a loud bang which felt like a bus had hit our flat.
“As the firefighters were going into the building, all of a sudden we saw the instant they found a body because everyone was rushing inside.
“We saw the firefighters take out a casualty. We watched them fling him over the shoulder. We saw him get taken away to the hospital.
“They came and placed him on the floor. He wasn’t moving, but my friend said he was probably alive as they raised his legs.”
A neighbour in the block said the elderly man needed to use a metal walker to get around before the blast.
Sergeant John Nicolaou from South West BCU said: “We now know four people have been injured as a result of what is believed to be a gas explosion.
“Three of those were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
“An elderly man has been taken to hospital for treatment. The Health and Safety Executive will be informed in due course and the Gas Board are at the scene now.
“They will be investigating the cause of the gas explosion which is believed to have taken place on the ground floor.
“All emergency services continue to work together at the scene along with the local authority.”
Police were called at 7.25am to Garratt Lane to reports of a gas explosion.
Beattitude gym owner Siobhan Middleton was taking a fitness class when the explosion happened.
She said: “There was a huge bang and we all ran outside. We thought something had fallen off the roof.
“There was lots of dust in the air and glass everywhere.
“We saw one man taken away by ambulance and a man on a bicycle had fallen off in the road.
“A motorcyclist was on the floor and there were cars at a standstill in the road where they had swerved. I called the police and ambulance and we’ve been told to stay inside.
“A police woman told me that the man inside the flat had suffered burns to his face but had survived.”
In a statement the force said: “Emergency crews are working to assist those injured as a result of the damage caused. At this early stage, up to three people have been found with injuries.
“Work at the scene is ongoing. No arrests have been made. A police cordon has been put in place. Motorists are advised to avoid the area.”
A statement from London Fire Brigade said: “Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters have been called to reports of a suspected gas explosion on Garratt Lane in Wandsworth.
“A ground floor flat in a three-storey block has been affected. A 25m cordon is in place as a precaution.
“Firefighters rescued one man from the affected flat. He has been taken to hospital. A man from an adjacent flat has also been taken to hospital.”