Thornton Heath explosion: Girl, 4, killed by Mitcham gas blast named as Sahara Salman

A family friend today said little Sahara was a “beautiful” and “cute” girl and that the family had been in touch with the gas company for a week before the blast.

A four-year-old girl who died after a gas explosion tore through her house sending debris flying through the air has been named as Sahara Salman.

Flowers and tributes at street where a suspected gas explosion demolished a home yesterday killing a four-year-old girl. Credit: SWNS

It is thought the family were in the house next door when the explosion went off and an aunt was said to have been in the loft at the time.

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Despite the devastation, both parents of the little girl - named by locals as Sahara Salman - as well as two of her siblings were not seriously injured in the explosion.

Family friend Thoheed Maricar, 52, said the tragic young girl was one of four children - including an 11-year-old boy who was taken to hospital and another two kids who were relatively unharmed the blast.

Her mum, said to be called Sana Ahmad, is thought to work for the NHS as a receptionist.

Damage to homes caused by suspected gas explosion that demolished a home yesterday killing a four-year-old girl in Thornton Heath. Credit: SWNS

Mr Maricar said: “Yesterday the mum was crying and she was in a horrible situation as she had just lost a baby.

“I was called up at around 9am yesterday and was told: ‘Uncle, there has been a big blast at a neighbour’s house’.

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“The mum was saying ‘my third child is missing’ but she couldn’t really talk to me. She was crying and screaming.

“The girl is a beautiful, cute four-year-old. She was a happy girl. She played around a lot and was very active.

“I think she had started nursery but I don’t know that for sure.”

Damage to homes caused by suspected gas explosion that demolished a home yesterday killing a four-year-old-girl. Credit: SWNS

Parents - thought to be Sana and Syed Muhammad Salman Ilyas - escaped from the blast unhurt, while their daughter passed away after being missing in the rubble and their oldest son was rushed to hospital.

Mr Maricar added: “The 11-year-old boy is injured but I don’t know his condition or if he is still in hospital.

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“I feel very, very sad about what has happened. It is just a terrible situation.

“The family had tried to get hold of the gas company a couple of times last week and neighbours had been trying to get hold of the gas company.

“The mum is working in the NHS as a receptionist in a GP.”

Bunches of flowers and around 10 teddy bears were laid at the scene and tributes were scrawled in chalk across a nearby pavement in dedication to the little girl.

The devastating blast completely destroyed one terraced house and left debris scattered across the street after being sent flying into the air.

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One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “The family [of Sahara] were so distressed, but they were still looking after people. One of the aunties bought food out.

“That family would have been so upset by things, but they were so selfless just bringing food for everyone.”