Just after 7 p.m. in London, a battery short-circuited and exploded in a North London tube station, forcing an evacuation of the station and an order to local residents to stay indoors. Sniffing dogs were brought to the location in an attempt to determine the source of the explosion. Initial reports indicated a “suspicious package” at the scene. One witness described her experience.
“It was a really loud noise. I was on the top of the escalator and there was this massive bang. Everyone was like, ‘What was that?’ Then I heard people screaming. By that point I had stepped off the escalator and was going to tap out. I turned around and the whole of the escalator was in flames. It was all so quick. There were still a lot of people down there and I started hyperventilating.”
Oher witnesses spoke to The Sun and described the evacuation efforts. Bystanders spoke of the smell of “burning rubber,” and as police tried to push them back, witnesses saw several people being treated outside the station, some standing and some not. One witness described flames of at least six feet in height and a “rapid whooshing sound.” In the panic that followed, witnesses screamed and rushed away from the explosion, trampling some underfoot.
Before officials knew the cause of the explosion, they exercised great caution by wearing yellow chem suits. Witnesses claim to have seen at least one person taken from the scene on a stretcher. Police have not confirmed any injuries at this time, but an ambulance service reported they had treated three people and took two people to a hospital. Neither the nature of their injuries nor their identities are known.
Bystanders at the scene estimated the number of policemen at 50 to 60 along with police vans, an ambulance, and the dogs.
Officers remain at the scene according to a report from BBC. Both Scotland Yard and the British Transport Police are investigating exactly what happened. London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service were also still on the scene at last report.
Business Insider provided this statement from the Metropolitan Police.
“The scene has been examined by specialist officers. It appears at this stage that the cause of the explosion was a battery short circuit. The Met Police and [British Transport Police] are working together to establish the full facts.”
It’s not believed that the explosion was a terrorist act.