RESIDENTS of a south London street, evacuated after a fatal gas explosion, are still not sure when they can come back home. But life has been “torn apart” for the mother of a four-year child who died in the incident in Croydon.
Sahara Salman, who was due to start her schooling in September, died as her house collapsed following the explosion and three others suffered serious injuries.
“We have lost our daughter who is our pride and our joy,” her mother Sana Ahmad said, “the world is so cruel.”
Ironically, the family contacted Southern Gas Networks (SGN) on July 30 after a gas leak was detected but someone from the supply company investigated the matter and said there was “no major problem”.
“He said that he would send another guy who was higher up than him to inspect the property because he wasn’t totally sure. Unfortunately, that other guy never did show up. The work wasn’t fully carried out. They did tell us there were loads of little gas leaks – they said that pipes had been leaking but that they were minor leaks,” Ahmad said.
Recounting the August 8 explosion, the grieving mother said, “I had two children in my room and then Sahara in the box room, and my eldest in the room towards the garden. My room is the one facing the main road.”
She told the Evening Standard, “my instinct was to grab all my children but as I’d gone to the hallway Sahara’s room had collapsed already. There was no sign of me even getting to her. The explosion was so bad that it almost felt like missiles were dropped on the properties. That’s how quickly the building started to fall down.”
Met police said the body of the child was recovered from the building and several neighbouring properties were evacuated as a precaution. The force said those injured in the incident were recovering.
SNG said the fixing of the gas leak was taking longer than expected and the extreme heat over the weekend “delayed some of the operations.”
Its SGN spokesperson said the company was working closely with investigators and assisting the emergency services.