Man critically injured following explosion in Swain’s Lane

The aftermath of the explosion in Swain's Lane Picture: Kenneth Tharp

The aftermath of the explosion in Swain's Lane Picture: Kenneth Tharp - Credit: Archant

A man has been taken to hospital following an explosion in Swain’s Lane in Highgate with “life-threatening injuries”.

The aftermath of the explosion in Swain's Lane Picture: Kenneth Tharp

The aftermath of the explosion in Swain's Lane Picture: Kenneth Tharp - Credit: Archant

Emergency services have scrambled to the building site on the corner of Swain’s Lane and Highgate West Hill where property developers Nobel House are in the process of demolishing formers shops in the parade.

The police, fire service, paramedics and air ambulance were all called to the scene at around 2pm today.

Sarah Lawrence, an employee at Lawrence and Co Solictors, said she heard a “huge explosion”.

She said: “We’re just opposite, they’ve put a fence around it. There was a huge explosion, everybody heard it and people came out running.

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“A man’s been brought out on a stretcher and they’ve given him a drip.”

Theodora Demettriou, of Theo’s Hair Studio further up the road, said: “We just heard this loud explosion, it could have been gas or an electrical fault. It vibrated down the street and shook the building. I’m surprised the windows weren’t smashed.

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There used to be a petrol station there so we always feared there might be something there. There was certainly a strong smell of gas when you go near it.

“Alot of people from across the site came out and were calling for a man who was badly injured.

I keep praying this man will be fine.

William Ellis School on Highgate Road had extra staff on duty outside the school ensuring the safety of their students as the C11 bus to Archway and 214 bus to Highgate Village were both disrupted.

Councillor Sally Gimson, Labour representative for Highgate, said she wasn’t in the area when the explosion happened. She added: “My thoughts are with the injured man and his family.”

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We were called at 2:05pm to reports of an incident on Swains Lane.

“We sent a single responder in a car, an ambulance crew and an incident response officer to the scene. We also dispatched London’s Air Ambulance.

“We treated a man at the scene for multiple injuries and took him as a priority to hospital.”

A police spokesman said: “Police were called by the London Ambulance Service at 14:11hrs on Thursday, 16 March to reports of an explosion at an address in Swain’s Lane, N6.

“London’s Air Ambulance attended and has taken a man to an east London hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The area is cordoned off and officers remain on scene.”

A spokesman for the HSE said: “The Health and Safety Executive is aware of an incident that took place today at Swains Lane, Camden and is in communication with the emergency services.”

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