stamford hill fire
Police were called to reports of an explosion in the Stamford Hill Estate in Hackney, east LondonTwitter/999London

A man has died and two others left in critical condition after a suspected explosion at a block of flats in east London. Police are investigating the cause of the blast after being called to a Hackney housing estate just after 2.30pm on Wednesday (18 May).

Witnesses – who had reported hearing an explosion – described seeing two people jump from the burning second-floor flat in Wicklow House on the Stamford Hill Estate. Four fire engines and more than 20 firefighters tackled the blaze for about an hour-and-a-half.

Four men were taken to hospital suffering burns. One of the injured, a 30-year-old, was later transferred to a specialist burns unit in Essex but died at 10.27pm. His next of kin has been informed.

Two other men, a 28-year-old and 29-year-old, remain in a critical condition, while a fourth, 28, is described as stable.

Residents in the badly damaged five-storey block of flats have been evacuated and placed in emergency accommodation. Met Police detectives are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.

Detective Inspector Paul Ridley from Hackney CID said: "An investigation has been launched to establish the circumstances of this incident. I would request that anyone who can provide any further information, who witnessed the explosion or the immediate aftermath to contact my investigation team."

Anyone with information is asked to call Hackney CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at crimestoppers-uk.org.