Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Residents of street where gas explosion killed girl unable to return one week on

Engineers at the scene of an explosion on Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath, south London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Engineers at the scene of an explosion on Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath, south London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Residents of a south London street where a suspected gas explosion killed a child seven days ago are angry that they still have not been told when they can return, with many unable to access medicine.

Four-year-old Sahara Salman died after a terraced house collapsed on Galpin’s Road, Thornton Heath, in the borough of Merton, shortly after 7am on Monday, and three other people were seriously injured.

On Friday morning, Merton Council told more than 500 evacuees they could return home, after Southern Gas Networks (SGN) declared the area “gas safe” – meaning there were no residual fumes.

But at around 6.30pm on Friday evening SGN said that the leak was not sealed and this was still the case at midday on Monday, according to the council.

Thornton Heath incident
Police erects a cordon near the scene on Galpin’s Road, Merton, south London (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Galpin’s Road resident Kutoya Kukanda, 50, has been struggling with injuries he sustained rescuing three children from the rubble in the moments after the blast.

He was hailed by neighbours as a “hero” alongside Delroy Simms, 62, after they helped three children escape the aftermath, and both have been living in hotels since.

Mr Kukanda first spoke with the PA news agency moments after the explosion, while still dressed in his pyjamas and baring a fresh bruise on his shin where he had been struck by a falling brick.

Speaking one week later, Mr Kukanda said: “Before, they (the council) said we are going back home at the weekend, but they changed it.

“We don’t know when we are going to go back to our houses.

“I’m feeling not so good because it’s a lot of worry for me, my leg and back are in a lot of pain.”

Thornton Heath incident
Residents Delroy Simms, 62, (left) and Kutoya Kukanda, 50, are still living in hotels after rescuing three children from the aftermath of a gas explosion on their street (Laura Parnaby/PA)

Mr Simms said he felt like he had been “living in limbo” for the past week.

“No one has told us when we can go back or if we can pop in and get our personal belongings,” he told PA.

“I’m thankful for the roof over our heads, but it’s not home.”

Mr Simms’ son, Tristan, 31, who was also evacuated, told PA that he was worried about an elderly resident housed in the same hotel as them who seemed to be suffering with dementia.

He said: “He has been confused – he comes down every day and asks what’s going on.

“We, as residents, have to make sure he’s okay. He hasn’t unpacked his bags.

“We’ve told the council.”

Another Galpin’s Road resident, who did not wish to be named, told PA she is heavily asthmatic and was struggling to access an inhaler or painkillers. She said the council had told her to use the £20 daily food allowance they have been providing for medicine too.

Speaking from the Hilton hotel in Croydon where she has been temporarily re-homed, she said: “I’m really angry. I just want to go home. They should have treated us a lot better.

“There’s an elderly woman in the hotel and she’s having to go up and down to the community centre every day to collect her money.”

The scene in Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath, south London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA). 
The scene in Galpin’s Road in Thornton Heath, south London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

In a letter that Merton Council sent to residents on Sunday, seen by PA, they said: “We are continuing to support more than 500 residents from 200 properties on Galpin’s Road while SGN work on site to fix the gas issue.

“We have collected and are caring for all pets who we have been notified about, and they are all in loving temporary homes until you can collect them and go home.

“We have started to go in and collect your bins, so that when you go home it is clean.

“We will also be providing cleaners to help you at home when you go back.”

The letter also told residents they could access “meals, cash support and medical services” at the New Horizon Centre until 4pm each day, but the resident said the meals comprised “cold sandwiches” and medical services were “just nappies”.

The Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command has launched a criminal investigation into the blast.

Those injured in the incident include an 11-year-old boy and a 54-year-old woman.