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Man dead after Beckenham car and house explosion

PUBLISHED: 11:03 27 May 2010 | UPDATED: 10:33 12 August 2010

BURNT OUT: The destroyed Nissan Micra

BURNT OUT: The destroyed Nissan Micra

ONE man was killed and another injured when a car exploded on a driveway in a quiet cul-de-sac. Police are treating the incident in Gainsborough Close, Beckenham, yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon as suspicious. The body of a 44-year-old man, who lived

ONE man was killed and another injured when a car exploded on a driveway in a quiet cul-de-sac.

Police are treating the incident in Gainsborough Close, Beckenham, yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon as suspicious.

The body of a 44-year-old man, who lived in the house alone and was known to mental health services, was found by fire crews shortly after 2.50pm

Witnesses reported seeing a man running from the opposite end of the road once the Nissan Micra had exploded and into the house where the car was parked. Smoke then started billowing from the house.

Another neighbour said he thought he could smell gunpowder.

Retired secretary Madge Wood, of Brackley Road, said: "I was on the phone in the kitchen. All of a sudden I saw a plume of smoke, it was billowing- I thought 'My God, what is that?'

"It got worse and then I walked around and looked through the fence. I could see the glass was cracking and then there was an explosion.

"The heat from the fire made the car glass crack. It was getting furious. Then I thought nobody seems to be doing anything so I went and called the fire brigade.

"Then after the car exploded a man ran from the other corner of the road. He ran fast past the car and into the house and closed the door. Then smoke started billowing from the eves of the house.

"He looked like he could be in his 40s. He was between 5ft 10ins and 6ft tall. His face was pale and he had dark hair and was wearing a white and blue top.

"It was quite bizarre, a bit alarming- we've not had anything like this happen since I've lived here and that's 38 years."

Police, ambulance and fire crews attended the incident. Officers said another man was taken to hospital with minor injuries and smoke inhalation.

Opera singer Nick Kossov, 43, of Silverwood Close said: "It doesn't add up. I heard what sounded like metal dropping, like scaffolding about three seconds before the explosion and then the same noise about three seconds afterwards.

"I used to live near farms and I know the smell of gunpowder. But the fire chief told me there was no explosive but it really stank. But it could have been the smell of the tyres. It's all very odd."

The scene remains cordoned off today (Thursday).

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