London- A device that triggered a rush-hour fire aboard a subway train in the British capital was being investigated as terrorism Friday, police said.
Authorities confirmed 23 people had been injured at Parsons Green Tube station in southwest London. None of their wounds — mostly superficial burns — were considered serious or life-threatening.
Investigators were examining the remains of an improvised explosive device.
Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner Neil Basu, the senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing, said the detonation was being treated as a “terrorist incident.”
Police said no arrests had been made but would not comment on the manhunt for the culprit. London subway stations are well-equipped with surveillance cameras.
Citing two intelligence officials briefed on the incident, NBC News Investigations reported that U.K. authorities were trying to ensure there were no additional devices. The officials added that authorities believe the contents of the 5-gallon bucket detonated prematurely. It did not explode — but instead “flashed” and burned. The device was left next to one of the subway car’s doors.
Luke Walmsley, 33, who was six train cars up from the fire described “complete pandemonium, complete terror” aboard the train.
“We heard the first scream and we saw a flash and smoke and people started running immediately,” he told NBC News.
Walmsley said that several people suffered “severe brown burns” to their heads. “It was a really acrid burning smell,” he added.
Police ordered commuters and residents to avoid the area. A cordon was set up around 500 yards from the station.
The London Ambulance Service confirmed a hazardous area response team was sent to the scene around 8:20 a.m. Local time (3:20 a.m et). The London Fire Brigade said eight vehicles and around 50 firefighters were at the station.
Mayor Sadiq Khan urged residents of the city to remain “calm and vigilant.” He added: “As London has proven again and again, we will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism.”
According to the U.K. government, the current threat from international terrorism is “severe” — the second highest level.
Original post on NBC News. Read more here.