London house fire kills 2 women, 2 children; cause unclear

LONDON (AP) — Investigators are searching for the cause of a house fire in London that killed two women and two children, believed to be an infant boy and girl, the London Fire Brigade said Friday.

Around 40 firefighters and six fire engines were called to the scene in the Bexleyheath area of south-east London on Thursday evening, the brigade said.

Crews used breathing apparatus to take four people from the upper floor of the house using a 9 meter (30-foot) ladder, but all four, who are believed to have been related to each other, died at the scene.

British police are investigating the cause of the blaze but believe it is not suspicious, Detective Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry said. No arrests have been made.

A man who left the building before firefighters arrived was taken to hospital. His condition is not thought to be life-threatening but he remains in hospital with injuries to his legs, police said.

Neighbor Scott James said he saw a “distraught” man collapse against a wall outside the house.

“The downstairs was on fire and then the whole house went up. It was engulfed in flames. There wasn’t an explosion,” he said. “It all happened so quickly. I have never seen anything like it.”

Another person was also taken to hospital by the London Ambulance Service after he arrived at the scene.

“This is a truly terrible incident which is both sad and shocking,” London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said. “Our thoughts are with the family, friends and local community at this difficult time.”

London Mayor Sadiq khan said he was “heartbroken” by the news.

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