Explosion in Central London

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The Independent Online

Firefighters and witnesses reported two possible explosions Wednesday near the headquarters of the MI6 intelligence service in central London.

Firefighters and witnesses reported two possible explosions Wednesday near the headquarters of the MI6 intelligence service in central London.

The Foreign Office, which is responsible for MI6, said it was aware of the incident but had no details. The London Ambulance Service, which sent crews to the scene, said there had been no reports of any casualties. 'I think an hour and a half later it is safe to assume there are none,' a spokesman said on customary terms of anonymity.

Police immediately closed off roads around the area.

Witness Andrew Preece, told BBC News 24 he was driving home when he saw a flash of light coming from the top of the MI6 building near Vauxhall Bridge on the south side of the Thames River, not far from the Houses of Parliament. 'It looked as of it was internal from the center of the building but the flash of light was from the top of the building,' he said. 'It was followed by a large bang and the ground seemed to shake and my car was shaking.

Police said only that they were investigating two loud bangs.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said crews were called to the Vauxhall Cross area on the south bank at 9:25 p.m. (2025 GMT). Witness Alex Frank said he heard two explosions from his bedroom across the railway from the MI6 building.

'I heard two distinct explosions and massive white clouds over the railway tracks,' he said. 'There were definitely two explosions of the same strength. They were loud enough to shake the building Iÿm living in.'

'We just heard two God-almighty bangs, a loud one first, and then another one,' said Theresa Harding, 68, who lives nearby. ' We honestly thought it was fireworks.'

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