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Police expect arsonist to have made great damage to car in series of explosions
Police are treating an explosion that injured two women outside a hospital in central London as a terrorist incident.
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Witnesses told how a cab driver from Silver City transport centre was hailed a hero after he stopped his cab near the scene of the explosion and heroically ran towards the inferno to rescue one of the women.
One of the women was said to be heavily burned.
A postmortem examination will be held to ascertain the cause of death.
Police say they believe the woman was not in hospital at the time of the incident.
The blast is believed to have started as a fire inside a silver Renault Clio that belonged to a woman.
The window of the woman’s car was blown out, and emergency services said smoke caused significant damage to the taxi.
The driver of the taxi said he stopped his cab near the junction of Burlington Parade and Royal Court Road at around 1.45am after he heard a loud explosion.
The driver, who did not want to be named, said he had been close to the first explosion and he was only minutes away from another incident when he realised it was serious.
He said: “The cab came to a stop at the junction of Burlington Parade and Royal Court Road and I got out.
“As I am coming past this section of traffic, I could see a signpost which had come off the road and across the road.
“The sound of that sound I was told was the crash of cars. As I was about 200ft behind her, I have heard a loud blast and then the car got red-hot.
“I pulled over, I got out, ran up to the car and kicked in the window and tried to see if anyone was there. I have looked back and could see flames coming out of the car.
“There was smoke everywhere and I could see people holding out their handkerchiefs to protect their eyes. I could see the girl from inside through the window. She was wearing a leather jacket and she was badly burnt.”
He added: “I believe she might have been in the car for quite a long time. I will be back at the scene this morning just to look at the car in question, I’m just in a state of shock.
“I was just done on my vehicle, the car was parked in between the other two vehicles and what happened with those cars, and my vehicle.”
Play Video 1:02 New London blast investigated after two women injured – video report
At least two other vehicles had also been damaged by the explosion.
London Ambulance Service said a second woman was injured in the incident and taken to hospital.
“Two patients were treated at the scene by London ambulance service staff and one patient was treated at the hospital,” a spokeswoman said.
“Both patients are currently receiving treatment and were in a stable condition.”
The Metropolitan police said it believed the vehicle had been set on fire and that the suspects would have caused great damage to the vehicle.
The Met said the vehicle, a Renault Clio, had been parked illegally at the spot where the fire started.
They added that two males had fled the scene on foot, leaving the rear of the car a “charred wreck”.
As many as seven officers were dealing with the incident at its height.
The bus stop near where the blast happened is near one of the entrances to London’s landmark Green Park park.
Images on social media show the Renault Clio aflame outside the entrance to the hospital.
Sky news correspondent Oliver Harvey reported that a taxi driver had saved a “nearly dead” woman by pulling her from the burning vehicle.
In an update on their Twitter feed, London Fire Brigade said: “A spokesman for the ambulance service said this morning that one woman has received first aid treatment on the scene and is believed to be in a critical condition.
“Firefighters have been called twice and two units remain at the scene, dealing with the fire and the vehicle. One woman has been treated by ambulance staff and transported to hospital.
“We’re not aware of anyone else being injured, but are not complacent and will provide reassurance if needed.”