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Explosion rocks pavement outside Soho strip club

Young woman seen covered in dust as eye-witness describes near miss

10 March, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

Smoke pours out of the Windmill strip club

AN explosion at one of the capital’s oldest strip clubs rocked Soho.

As workers finished up for the week, at around 5.30pm last Friday, an explosion moved the pavement in Great Windmill Street, at the back entrance of The Windmill strip club. One man said the explosion missed him “by a couple of feet” but he was “covered in dust”.

Iolo Jones, who was walking to the tube after a meeting in Wardour Street, said: “As I got to the end of Archer Street there was a bang. The pavement in front of me rose up and smoke came from above the doorway stage door for the Windmill, I think. A young lady was standing in the doorway and she was uninjured too, although we were covered in some dust.”

But he added: “It wasn’t a massive explosion – I’ve been caught up in terrorist explosions in the past – this was more of a contained thud. There was very little panic.”

He explained he had been in the vicinity of both the Admiral Duncan bombing in Soho in 1999 as well as an IRA attack on The Sussex pub in 1992.

Speaking of Friday’s events, he added: “My first reaction was: What the heck was that? Will there be more? The eerie thing after a big explosion is that it then goes very quiet for a while and then car and building alarms go off. I was then concerned to see if anyone had been hurt. And then, once I felt safe and saw no one was injured, I joined everyone else in taking photos and videos.”

Mr Jones added: “My immediate reaction was that it was another of those electrical explosions that seem to happen quite regularly in London.”

In the past few years a series of pavement explosions became widespread around Westminster, with more than 13 explosions in 2014. It emerged that Friday’s blast was in fact caused by a “water boiler failure”, according to the London Fire Brigade, who attended after being called to reports of smoke. Part of the nightclub’s basement was damaged by the explosion.

The police, who also attended, confirmed there had been a “small explosion” that was “not being treated as terrorist-related”. The scene was blocked off to traffic and pedestrians while emergency services assessed the situation.

The Windmill released a statement that said: “On Friday March 3, around 5.40pm The Windmill International, a famous nightclub based in the old Windmill Theatre, had a technical problem in the staff areas. Nobody was hurt and the damage was contained to a small area.” A spokesman confirmed the problem had involved a boiler.

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