Mother of four-year-old girl killed in gas blast begs council for help

‘My last memory of her is kissing her good night’: Heartbroken mother of four-year-old girl who was killed in gas blast reveals her family are still ‘sleeping on the floor’ six months later – as she begs council for help

  • Sahara Salman died after a terraced house collapsed in south London last year 
  • Her mother begged Merton Council for help, revealing her family are homeless

The mother of a four-year-old girl killed in a gas blast has revealed her family are sleeping on the floor.

Sahara Salman died in an explosion started by a gas leak in her family’s Thornton Heath home in south London on August 8, 2022.

Her mother Sana Ahmad spoke about her grief and slammed Merton Council as she revealed the family remain homeless six months on from the explosion.

She said: ‘My last memory of her is kissing her good night, telling her how much I loved her, and promising to see her in the morning.

‘As a parent, it is a nightmare come true to know that my daughter lost her life in the very bed where she should have felt safe and secure.

Sahara Salman, 4, died after a terraced house collapsed in Galpin’s Road, Thornton Heath, in the southern borough of Merton, shortly after 7am on August 8, 2022

The explosion in Galpin’s Road, Thornton Heath, near Croydon, left three people seriously injured and tragically killed four-year-old Sahara Salman

Shocked neighbours looked on at the home destroyed by an explosion caused by a gas leak

The house explosion took place in Thornton Heath, Croydon around 7am on August 8, 2022

‘Sahara was a shining star in our lives, and her absence is felt deeply.

‘Despite this tragedy, we are still homeless and sleeping on the floor.

‘My three children and I have lost everything and it’s devastating to see them without their belongings and a place to call home.

Three people were hospitalised with potentially life-threatening injuries because of the blast

The extent of the blast was laid bare in aerial photographs that showed the damage to surrounding houses 

‘They miss their sister and are scared to go to school.

‘We deserve support in this difficult time but it feels like we’ve been left to fend for ourselves.

‘It’s unfair that we are being treated this way and left without proper support.

‘It’s difficult to understand why the council is struggling to find a suitable home for us to live in after such a long time.

‘It feels like torture to be left to suffer like this.’

The mother’s legal representative, Faryal Hussain, said: ‘The council needs to house her, it is ridiculous, she is living in a living room with three children.’

Council leader Ross Garrod told MyLondon: ‘The council has been doing everything it can to support those affected, including Ms Ahmad and her family.’

Sana Ahmad, previously accused Southern Gas Networks (SGN) of neglecting problems in the area and said her ‘world has been torn apart’.

At a community meeting in South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham in August 2022, residents said that at least 18 calls were made to gas firm SGN from Galpin’s Road about the smell of gas in the days and weeks leading up to the explosion.

Martin Holloway, executive operations director for SGN, told some 100 residents in the local community centre the firm was ‘shocked and saddened’ about the death of Sahara.

Aerial footage shows debris strewn across the road and pavement, as well as rubble where the terraced house once stood

Employees of Southern Gas Networks, which had been carrying out works in the road at the time of the incident, were on the scene after the blast

A large pile of rubble in front of where the house was cordoned off by police tape

Mr Holloway told locals at the community meeting: ‘Whilst I appreciate it is frustrating given the ongoing police investigation, I’m unable to talk about what happened in the run-up to the explosion.

‘I know that’s difficult because people want answers about what’s happening.’

However, locals immediately began shouting at Mr Holloway, who had to stop speaking. 

Two residents walked out of the meeting while shouting at the company representative, with one describing the investigation as a ‘whitewash’.

One resident said the company had ‘blood on their hands’, while another demanded answers, as ‘houses don’t just blow up’.

One man who lived on Galpin’s Road told Mr Holloway: ‘A little girl lost her life because of you lot taking your time, and how many people have been telling you that there’s been a problem.’

Mr Holloway confirmed that ‘the entire history, both electronic and paper’ of all the work carried out by SGN on Galpin’s Road would be available to the police for their investigation.

He added that the company would also make a ‘voluntary goodwill contribution’ to the local council following the blast.

A spokeswoman for SGN told MailOnline: ‘We are shocked and saddened by this tragic loss of life and our deepest sympathies are with the family and all those who have been affected.’

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