The sealed-off area on Galpin’s Road in south London was this afternoon expanded by around 100 metres following yesterday’s blast. It comes after a girl, believed to be aged four, died and three others were injured when a terrace house collapsed following a suspected gas explosion on Monday morning.
The cordon has now been extended to a total distance of around 200 metres due to “safety concerns”, officers have said.
Four police cars reportedly rushed to the scene in the space of 15 minutes this afternoon.
Residents living within the new area are not being allowed into their homes, MyLondon reports.
About 100 evacuated people have already been housed in nearby hotels.
On the ground beside the original cordon, children have written touching tributes in white chalk, including the words “spread your wings” alongside drawings of hearts and rainbows.
Several bouquets and teddies have also been left at the scene.
The Met has confirmed a girl’s body was recovered from a building after the blast, while the three others were taken to hospital.
A fourth person was treated at the scene.
Leader of Merton Council Ross Garrod described the incident as a gas explosion.
Firefighters said investigations to establish the cause were ongoing.
It comes as several residents said they could smell gas for “at least two weeks” prior to the explosion, with many experiencing headaches, dizziness and difficulty breathing.
Two people said their neighbours had called gas engineers several days before the blast.
A neighbour who lives opposite, Delroy Simms, 62, said he could smell gas for “at least two weeks” before the blast.
He added: “It was a time bomb waiting to happen.”
Joanne Strickland, 48, said she could smell gas from her home about 300 metres away from Galpin’s Road, and had been making a mental note to call engineers just minutes before she heard the “almighty” explosion on Monday morning.
She said: “Yesterday morning I came out to work just before 7am, I could smell gas really strongly, and I thought I would call the gas people when I got back.
“As I got to the junction of Galpin’s Road, I just heard the almighty explosion.
“I was looking in my mirror and I could see people coming out their houses – but I kind of knew what happened.”