Several people were injured at a London underground station on Friday after witnesses reported a blast on a packed rush-hour commuter train which police were treating as a terrorism incident.
Emergency services said they had been called to reports of a fire on a train at Parsons Green station in West London at 8.20am.
“It is too early to confirm the cause of the fire, which will be subject to the investigation that is now underway by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command,” London police said in a statement.
Commissioner Neil Basu, the senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing, had declared it a terrorist incident, the statement said.
The Metro newspaper reported that passengers had suffered facial burns from a blast and others had been hurt in a subsequent stampede.
An unverified picture circulating on social media showed a white bucket with a supermarket freezer bag on the floor of one train carriage. The bucket was in flames and there appeared to be wires coming out of the top.
“I was on second carriage from the back. I just heard a kind of whoosh. I looked up and saw the whole carriage engulfed in flames making its way towards me,” Ola Fayankinnu, who was on the train, he said.
“A lot of people were trampled on. There were phones, hats, bags all over the place and when I looked back I saw a bag with flames. People were crying, shocked, a few people had been injured, some people had been trampled.”
Outside the station, a woman was sitting on a pavement with a bandage around her leg, while armed police patrolled.
A witness saw a woman being carried off on a stretcher with her legs covered in a foil blanket.
“Everybody should keep calm and go about their lives in as normal a way as they possibly can,” foreign secretary Boris Johnson told BBC TV.
Television footage showed passengers being escorted off a carriage while a witness saw armed police scouring a stationary train.
A witness could see a bomb disposal unit at the scene while the fire brigade said it had sent six engines and 50 firefighters.
Chris Wildish, who was on the train, said he saw a “device” in the last carriage. “It was a white bucket, a builder’s bucket, in a white Aldi bag or Lidl bag,” he told 5live.
“Flames were still coming out of it when I saw it and had a lot of wires hanging out of it — I can only assume it was done on purpose. “It was standing against the door of the rear-most carriage.”
London Ambulance said it had sent “multiple resources” including its hazardous area response team to the scene.
“Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries,” it said.
Transport for London said on Twitter there was no service on the western part of the District Line, which runs through Parsons Green.
Britain has suffered four attacks blamed on terrorists so far this year which killed 36 people.
In 2005, 52 people were killed when four British Islamists carried out suicide bomb attacks on three London underground trains and a bus.