At about 1:55 I heard the loudest noise I’ve ever heard in my life. At first I thought it was thunder, but it was too close and too crisp. I looked up and saw glass, masonry and various bits of apartment and building tumbling off the top of a tower block. For a couple of minutes there was this bizarre rain of bits of fabric, paper, glass and chunks of metal, and smoke was pouring out of the top floor of the apartment block.
It looked like a gas explosion to me (not that I’m an expert), and crowds soon developed on the street looking at it. So I met the estate agent, and our conversation went like this:
Me (as a joke): So, that’s not the one you were going to show me, right?
Her: Erm.. Well it’s the same building.
So it turns out the flat I was going to see was a few floors below the one that just blew up. Then things started to get really weird. The estate agent didn’t seem to think that the explosion was a reason not to go and have a look at the flat. Being a sucker for interesting experiences (and an idiot) I followed her to the building.
Outside everything was covered with little bits of glass, and there were some pretty serious chunks of debris lying around as well. The lifts were out of action, so we went up the stairs, going past loads of people going the other way to evacuate.
We got up to the 11th floor, and waited for the landlord. After a couple of minutes the estate agent phoned the landlord to see where they were, and it sounded like the landlord told her they weren’t in the building as its top floor had just exploded and it was now on fire.
Just then a security guard appeared and asked us if we were aware the building was on fire. We were, and finally decided that it would probably be sensible to go somewhere else. So we went all the way back downstairs, passing a team of fire-fighters in all their gear. They gave me extremely odd looks as I went past in my shorts and flip-flops.
Outside the crowd was now huge, and we had to duck under a security cordon that had appeared since we went into the building. There was also a guy on the floor in just his boxers, with bleeding burns on his body, who was busy throwing up and crying. Think he might’ve been in the apartment that exploded.
And then the estate agent took me to a few other ones. She was completely calm and cool about the whole thing, even saying “that apartment was really nice, it’s a shame the building exploded”, as if talking about a picnic that got spoiled by some rain.
According to the news”), one person was killed and three were injured in the explosion.