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3 dead as car hits wall and explodes in Maida Vale tradegy

Pictures show the scene where three people were killed in a horrifying car crash and fire after ploughing into a block of flats in Westminster.

They show rubble and twisted metal scattered across the pavement and road and the husk of a burned out car covered with blue tarpaulin.

Those who have seen closer images of the scene reported the wall where the car hit the building is caved in as high as seven feet above ground level

Police, firefighters and paramedics were all scrambled to the scene on Great Western Road, Maida Vale just after 4.50am following reports of a collision where they found the car ablaze.

London Fire Brigade was able to extinguish the fire but tragically three people were pronounced dead at the scene.

Work to contact their families is ongoing at this time, according to a police statement.

There are not believed to be any other injuries at this stage, nor are any other vehicles believed to have been involved in the incident.

Residents in the block struck by the car have been evacuated as a precaution this morning, with London Fire Brigade confirming in a statement that eight people were moved.

Pictures show the car collided with the corner of the building which housed a stairwell, fortunately avoiding any flats where residents would likely have been asleep in the early hours when the crash happened.

Police can be seen holding blue tarpaulins across the twisted wreckage to keep it from view.

A local resisdent tol the newspapers “I just heard a bang and a crash and heard the explosion. I came down and the fire brigade were here. It was already out. It was out pretty quick.

“When I heard the bang I thought it was an explosion in the flats next door.

You could see the seats of the car. You wouldn’t even think there was somebody in the car. It was grim.”

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “Detectives from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit are appealing for witnesses and those with dash cam footage to come forward following the incident.”

Shocked residents watched in horror as people tried to rescue the screaming man trapped inside the wreckage before it blew up.

A police officer at the scene said the driver had come over a canal bridge before losing control of the vehicle.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze, but three people were pronounced dead at the scene.

A resident who lives across the road from the scene of the horror crash, said: “I heard a big smash and knew it was a car crash, but not how bad it was.

“They had the door open and the man was screaming, but they couldn’t get him out and ran away.

“The next minute the car exploded in a fireball – there’s not really anything anyone could have done.

“I could just hear the screams of the guy. It must have been terrifying. It could have been my kids, could have been anyone.”

Another witness said a man jumped out of bed and tried to pull the screaming victims to safety before their car was engulfed in flames. 

“A guy who had no top on ran out and was trying to drag someone out of the car,” the witness told the Standard.  

“There was screaming and shouting and smoke and he was doing his best but then flames starting shooting up. We all rang the emergency services. 

“The man with no top was doing his best he had obviously just got out of bed. It was a terrible scene to wake up to. I just think of the poor families.”

Another said: “There were flames shooting up from the car. 

“There were people on the street and all the traffic stopped. It was like something out of a movie. My kids were crying. It was horrific.”

Officers are still working to identify the victims.

No other cars are thought to have been involved in the crash, although a number of residents were evacuated from the building as a precaution.

Manuel Gaspar, manager of the Transparent World cleaning company, based opposite the crash, told the Standard: “The impact was awful. There was debris spread all over the road.

“We saw a neighbour who was very brave. He had just woken up and didn’t have a shirt on and was trying to get into the passenger door. All the other doors were stuck or too damaged.

“The smoke was going into the old people’s home and then the fire started in the back of the car.”

Six officers are on the scene to redirect pedestrians and traffic and the cordon at the junction of Harrow Road and Great Western Road is expected to be in place for several hours.

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