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Ashford explosion: Council leader says four homes will have to be demolished in Mill View, Willesborough


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A block of four houses damaged by a huge explosion will have to be demolished, a council leader has said.

Work is still being carried out on the homes hit by the blast in Ashford as the community seeks to recover from yesterday's shocking scenes.

Part of the cordon has been lifted but Mill View remains closed
Part of the cordon has been lifted but Mill View remains closed

Watch: Residents speak of their shock after fire

Seven people were injured in the explosion, with two remaining in a serious condition in a London hospital.

Of the housing block of four in Mill View, Willesborough, one home has been completely destroyed, while at least two have obvious and severe fire and explosion damage.

Visiting the scene, Ashford Borough Council leader Gerry Clarkson (Con) says it is likely that the block would have to be rebuilt.

"It's a devastating scene and we are liaising with the victims and their families to see how we can help," he said.

"Unfortunately as you look at it you can see how severe the damage is, it is tragic.

"Of course, we need to carry out inspections to determine not just the cause but the extent of the structural damage to the block.

The London Air Ambulance landed on Hythe Road Recreation Ground yesterday as crews rushed to the scene
The London Air Ambulance landed on Hythe Road Recreation Ground yesterday as crews rushed to the scene
Gas engineers working at the scene this morning
Gas engineers working at the scene this morning

"I am struggling to see any outcome other than the need to demolish these houses and start again."

Three of the houses in the block are owned by the council - including the property at the centre of the explosion with one being privately owned.

Cllr Clarkson said that alternative accommodation had already been organised for the victims.

"I am extremely proud of the community," he added.

"We like to call this borough the 'caring borough', they are absolutely fantastic, and we care for them just as much.

Mill View is just off Osborne Road in Willesborough
Mill View is just off Osborne Road in Willesborough
Cllr Gerry Clarkson visited the explosion site today
Cllr Gerry Clarkson visited the explosion site today
The Salvation Army is still at the scene today
The Salvation Army is still at the scene today
One house has been completely demolished and two others severely damaged
One house has been completely demolished and two others severely damaged

"Our hearts go out to them and we want to help in any way we can.

"We've already organised housing for those in hospital and we will of course look after the displaced residents."

In a statement released yesterday, ABC said "all the relevant safety certificates for the properties are fully up to date".

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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