South London police station blast injures seven
23 March 2012
Seven people were injured in an explosion at Croydon police station in South London on March 20, including a contractor who suffered severe facial burns, who was reported to be in a critical but stable condition in hospital the following day. Another worker was flown to a specialist burns unit in Essex with extensive injuries.
Of the seven injured in the Croydon blast, one was a policeman who went to the assistance of the builders
Ten fire engines and 50 firefighters were called to tackle the resulting blaze, which was contained in the basement.
The builders had been refurbishing a 25-metre firing range in the basement of the station which had was used to train firearms officers ahead of the London Olympics. It had recently been decommissioned to allow for refurbishment and contained no firearms or live ammunition.
The cause of the blast, described by borough commander Chief Superintendent David Musker as an "industrial accident", is unclear.
The builders involved in the explosion were working for Vinci Construction UK. A spokeswoman for the company said: "Vinci Construction UK has contacted the families of the individuals concerned and have assured them of our full support in coping with both emotional and practical issues. We are working with the HSE in their ongoing investigation to understand the cause of the explosion."
One witness told the Croydon Advertiser that the contractors had removed all the padding used to soundproof the range and that, as they worked overheard, sparks from a power tool ignited flammable material below.