British police have declared incident on London underground train a terrorist incident

LONDON (Reuters) - Several people were injured at a London underground station on Friday after witnesses reported a blast on a packed rush-hour commuter train which police were treating as a terrorism incident.

Emergency services said they had been called to reports of a fire on a train at Parsons Green station in West London at 8.20 a.m. (0720 GMT)

"It is too early to confirm the cause of the fire, which will be subject to the investigation that is now underway by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command," London police said in a statement.

Commissioner Neil Basu, the senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing, had declared it a terrorist incident, the statement said.

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Terrorist blast on London underground train
An injured woman reacts outside Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: A police officer escorts an injured woman from the scene at Parsons Green Underground Station on September 15, 2017 in London, England. Several people have been injured after an explosion on a tube train in south-west London. The Police are treating the incident as terrorism. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: A police officer escorts an injured woman from the scene at Parsons Green Underground Station on September 15, 2017 in London, England. Several people have been injured after an explosion on a tube train in south-west London. The Police are treating the incident and terrorism. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Armed police officers walk through a carriage of a London underground tube train at Parsons Green station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
A woman reacts outside Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
A man sits and waits in a London underground tube train at Parsons Green station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
A woman reacts outside Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
Police officers walk on the road near Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
An injured woman is led away after an incident at Parsons Green underground station in London, Britain, September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
People react near Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Police officers and sniffer dogs walk near Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Police officers stand on the road near Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
Police officers escort members of the public out of their inner cordon as they work near Parsons Green underground tube station in west London on September 15, 2017, following an incident on an underground tube carriage at the station. Police and ambulance services said they were responding to an 'incident' at Parsons Green underground station in west London on Friday, following media reports of an explosion. A Metro.co.uk reporter at the scene was quoted by the paper as saying that a white container exploded on the train and passengers had suffered facial burns. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman walks with her dog past police cordon near Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Armed policemen stand outside Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
Police officers escort members of the public out of their inner cordon as they work near Parsons Green underground tube station in west London on September 15, 2017, following an incident on an underground tube carriage at the station. Police and ambulance services said they were responding to an 'incident' at Parsons Green underground station in west London on Friday, following media reports of an explosion. A Metro.co.uk reporter at the scene was quoted by the paper as saying that a white container exploded on the train and passengers had suffered facial burns. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the London Fire Brigade stand by cordon near Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
People stand by an ambulance near Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Police vehicles line the street near Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
Members of a bomb disposal squad stand in the street near Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
People speak with a police officer outside Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
Armed policemen stand by cordon near Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: The emergency services are seen near the police cordon at Parsons Green Underground Station on September 15, 2017 in London, England. Emergency services are investigating reports of an explosion at the West London tube station. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
An injured woman is led away after an incident at Parsons Green underground station in London, Britain, September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
Staff from a local Italian restaurant hands out pizza and water from a stall near Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock of the British Transport Police makes a statement to the media after an incident at Parsons Green underground station in London, Britain, September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: A forensic tent is seen next to the stopped tube train at Parsons Green Underground Station on September 15, 2017 in London, England. Several people have been injured after an explosion on a tube train in south-west London. The Police are treating the incident as terrorism. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
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The Metro newspaper reported that passengers had suffered facial burns from a blast and others had been hurt in a subsequent stampede.

An unverified picture circulating on social media showed a white bucket with a supermarket freezer bag on the floor of one train carriage. The bucket was in flames and there appeared to be wires coming out of the top.

"I was on second carriage from the back. I just heard a kind of whoosh. I looked up and saw the whole carriage engulfed in flames making its way towards me," Ola Fayankinnu, who was on the train, told Reuters.

"A lot of people were trampled on. There were phones, hats, bags all over the place and when I looked back I saw a bag with flames. People were crying, shocked, a few people had been injured, some people had been trampled."

Outside the station, a woman was sitting on a pavement with a bandage around her leg, while armed police patrolled. A Reuters witness saw a woman being carried off on a stretcher with her legs covered in a foil blanket.

"We are aware of an incident at #ParsonsGreen tube station. Officers are in attendance," Londonpolice said on Twitter. "We would advise people to avoid the area."

Police said they were aware of reports on social media but said they would release facts regarding the incident once they could be sure of their accuracy.

"KEEP CALM"

"Everybody should keep calm and go about their lives in as normal a way as they possibly can," Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told BBC TV.

Television footage showed passengers being escorted off a carriage while a Reuters witness saw armed police scouring a stationary train.

A Reuters witness could see a bomb disposal unit at the scene while the fire brigade said it had sent six engines and 50 firefighters. London Ambulance said it had sent "multiple resources" including its hazardous area response team to the scene.

"Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries," it said.

Transport for London said on Twitter there was no service on the western part of the District Line which runs through Parsons Green.

Britain has suffered four attacks blamed on terrorists so far this year which killed 36 people. In 2005, 52 people were killed when four British Islamists carried out suicide bomb attacks on threeLondon underground trains and a bus.

(Additional reporting by Kate Holton, Elizabeth Piper, Yann Tessier and Costas Pitas; writing by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Janet Lawrence)

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