Residents that were evacuated from Galpin’s Road after a suspected gas explosion in Thornton Heath will be able to return to their homes from tomorrow.

More than 500 people were evacuated from houses neighbouring the explosion while was work carried out by Southern Gas Network.

SGNs told Newsquest south London that engineering work has now been completed after delays caused by the extreme heat.

The gas company’s crews have now disconnected a section of their gas network as part of an investigation by police into the incident.

Those who were evacuated from their homes will start to return to Galpin’s Road tomorrow, which is a process that will be managed by Merton Council.

SGN has explained that “this will take time due to the need to complete safety checks on all properties”.

The PA News Agency reported that on Friday morning, Merton Council told evacuees that they could return home after Southern Gas Networks declared the area “gas safe” – meaning there were no residual fumes.

However, at around 6.30pm on Friday, SGN took a U-turn on this decision and said that the leak was not sealed and that it was not safe for residents to return home up until today.

It is now just over a week since four-year-old Sahara Salman’s body was recovered from the ruins of a terraced house on Galpin’s Road, which collapsed after the explosion and fire.

Emergency services were first called to the home at around 7am last Monday (August 8).

Three other people were injured in the blast, including an 11-year-old boy and a 54-year-old woman.

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

It has also been announced that SGN has donated £500,000 to help fund the council’s response to the situation and support residents that have had to leave their homes.

The Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command has launched a criminal investigation into the blast.

Anyone with any additional information is asked to call the police incident room on 02087858244 quoting reference number CAD 1773/08AUG.

An SGN spokesperson said: “Our engineering teams have now completed work in Galpin’s Road, Thornton Heath, to disconnect a section of our gas network in support of the ongoing Police investigation.

“The operation was slightly delayed at the end of last week due to the extreme heat.

“Residents will start to return home tomorrow (Wednesday) in an operation managed by Merton Council, however this will take time due to the need to complete safety checks on all properties.

“More info on the specifics is available from Merton Council.”