London

Man found dead after explosion at Battersea flats

Flat destroyed by explosion
Image caption One flat was completely destroyed by the blast

A man's body has been found after an explosion and a fire at a block of flats in south London.

Residents described hearing two loud explosions before the building in Crichton Street, Battersea, partially collapsed in Saturday's early hours.

London Fire Brigade said a man was found dead in the converted loft of one flat which had been destroyed. A flat below was severely damaged.

A brigade spokeswoman said the building had been declared structurally unsafe.

Lambeth Council said residents from the four other flats in the building had been moved to safety and were staying with friends and family.

'Massive bang'

Investigators from the police and fire brigade have been carrying out a detailed examination of the scene to try to determine the cause of both the explosion and the fire.

The emergency services had been alerted to reports of an explosion at Dunnington Tower at 0315 GMT.

Neighbours described feeling their homes shake as they were woken by a "massive bang".

Dominique Fregiste, 17, said she felt her bed "shudder" before she noticed flames coming from the roof of the property.

She said: "I was asleep when the explosion happened and the whole house shook.

"I thought someone had driven into the side of the house with a lorry.

"I got up and went into my brother's room, which backs on to the block, and his room was really hot and I could see an orange glow coming through the curtains."

The college student said she dashed out on to the road to watch as the flat was engulfed in flames.

"It was such a shock," she added. "I didn't know the man but it's terrible."

A council spokesman said: "Our thoughts are with the families in what must be an extremely distressing time and we are doing everything in our power to help with the investigation."

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