Terrified commuters ‘ran for their lives’ after an explosion on a London Underground train this morning.There was a stampede as people fled in panic when a ‘fireball flew down the carriage’, leaving several passengers with serious facial burns on packed rush hour train in Parsons Green, west London. One witness told BBC there was a ‘bang’ and then a ‘wall of flames’, which engulfed the carriage, with pictures showing a burning plastic bucket stashed in a Lidl carrier bag.The doors opened on the District Line train and the commuters, many of them with scorched faces and hair, ran off screaming. A photograph of the flaming white bucket taken just after it exploded shows a number of wires protruding out of the top and on to train carriage floor but police have not yet confirmed if it was a bomb. There were reports of a man at station with a knife in the aftermath of the explosion. Scotland Yard said they believe this is unrelated to the Tube incident but are investigating and urging people to avoid the area.A journalist at the scene told a police officer told her there was a second unexploded device being tackled by the bomb squad.
Armed Police, paramedics and firefighters were all said to be at the west London station within five minutes of the explosion at 8.20am today. Horrified witnesses on social media claim there is a stampede as people are ‘screaming and running off trains’.A Twitter user called Rigs tweeted: ‘Explosion on Parsons Green district line train. Fireball flew down carriage and we just jumped out open door.’ Emma Stevie tweeted ‘I’m safe ..just had to run for my life at #ParsonsGreen station .. huge stamped, lots injured. Not sure why fire/explosion mentioned.’Ben Lee wrote ‘Just been evacuated at parsonsgreen panic from rearmost carriage pax saw smoke but NO injuries’ Horrified witnesses on social media claim there is a stampede as people are ‘screaming and running off trains’.Another witness, Sham, told he saw a man with blood all over his face. ‘There were loads of people crying and shaking,’ he told 5 live.’There were a lot of people limping and covered in blood. One guy I saw, his face was covered in blood …I’ve never seen anything like it.’
Fairy lights have been used as detonators by extremist bombers before
Pictures of apparent home-made bomb seen after the explosion show a Lidl coolbag with a large paint tub inside and a string of Christmas tree lights hanging over the top.If device does turn out to be a terrorist bomb, it would not be the first time extremists have used so-called ‘fairy lights’ to build a device.In May this year, a radicalised former doorman Zahid Hussain was found to have built an explosive device in his bedroom with fairy lights, shrapnel and a pressure cooker.He is said to have researched bomb-making techniques online, with police finding a wealth of notes and instructions at his home in Birmingham when he was arrested in 2015.Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, of West Midlands Police, said of Hussain’s bomb at the time ‘Forensic examination of the pressure cooker found it contained mixed urea, nails, drills bits, nuts, bolts, steel sockets and diesel fuel.’The Christmas tree lights also found at his address had been adapted so each one could be used as an explosive initiator or detonator.’Examination of his computer discovered browsing history relating to terrorism including bomb making and bomb blast injuries, showing he had a consistent and continued interest in terrorism and conflict.’
A Twitter user called Rigs tweeted ‘Explosion on Parsons Green district line train. Fireball flew down carriage and we just jumped out open door.’ Emma Stevie tweeted ‘I’m safe just had to run for my life at #ParsonsGreen station huge stamped, lots injured. Not sure why fire/explosion mentioned.’Ben Lee wrote ‘Just been evacuated at #parsonsgreen panic from rearmost carriage pax saw smoke but NO injuries’ Another social media user told ‘what’s happening at Parsons Green, panic on the platform reports of fire or explosion in a bag. No announcements.’Councillor Daniel Holden tweeted ‘Horror on District Line at Parsons Green, due to EXPLOSION/ Fire on train. People struggling to get out of station.’ Steven Slayford posted ‘Huge police presence at Parsons Green. Was told by a police officer to ‘get somewhere safe as quickly as I can’. As Facebook and Twitter was swamped with claims the incident was terror attack, Scotland Yard tweeted at 8.51am: ‘We are aware of reports on social media RE #ParsonsGreen. We will release facts when we can our info must be accurate’. Lady Margaret’s School, next to Parson’s Green tube station, has put an alert out to concerned parents to say all children are okay and there are no absences. A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman told ‘We were called at 8.21am and we have information there was a fire on a train eastbound at the platform at Parsons Green. ‘We have got two fire engines there.’ British Transport Police told ‘We’re aware of an incident at Parsons Green station. Officers are at the scene. The station is closed.’
Transport for London told it is ‘investigating an incident at Parsons Green’ and urged customers travelling between Wimbledon and Earls Court to use alternative routes.Natasha Wills, of London Ambulance Service, told ‘We were called at 8:20am to reports of an incident at Parsons Green underground station.’We have sent multiple resources to scene including single responders in cars, ambulance crews, incident response officers and our hazardous area response team, with the first of our medics arriving in under five minutes.