“I could have been on that Tube, that could have been me,” says Gautam Krishna as he hovers by a police cordon in Parsons Green.
His children are locked in their school gym as police evacuate homes and businesses from around the Tube station where a bomb partially exploded in the height of rush hour.
Like other local residents, Mr Krishna is struggling to comprehend how a terror attack struck this leafy and affluent corner of West London.
“It’s normally three people deep just to get on the Tube so if anything goes off it would take people out,” he adds.
Kate Capilupi, 35, was walking her daughters to school when flames shot through a packed District Line carriage, sparking a stampede of commuters attempting to flee.
“I got back home and there was a police officer at my front door,” she says. “He told me there had been an incident on the Tube and I couldn’t go in.
“My husband was on the Tube an hour earlier and we walk past 10 times a day.”
Parsons Green explosion: evacuated commuter on platform ‘saw a fireball’
Passengers described a “fireball” sweeping through the packed District Line carriage at around 8.20am, singeing off one man’s hair and leaving others with severe burns.
The explosion caused a stampede of passengers trying to escape from the station, as some stayed behind to film the burning device that had failed to fully detonate.
A spinning class was underway at the nearby exercise studio when a woman ran in shouting that there had been a terror attack.
Mark Arnell, the director of Ride Republic, says: “Then the police came – the first officer said we needed to leave or to get downstairs and hide, then the second one told us to evacuate.
“We got outside and police were banked all down the road and outside the school.
“People were running down the road and people were crying, there were loads of children.”
Mr Arnell is among locals crowded into the Local Hero coffee shop, which is…