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Pictured: First of three victims of horror fireball car crash in Notting Hill is identified

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One of three people killed when a car exploded into a fireball after smashing into a block of flats has been identified as a handyman, MailOnline can reveal.

Jason De Belen, 36, and two more men had been returning from a nightclub when their car ploughed into a block of flats near Westbourne Park tube station in leafy Notting Hill, west London, at dawn yesterday.

Mr De Belen and the car driver were friends who had given the third victim, a barman, a lift home from the club after he finished his shift.

Witnesses said the car spun out of control over a bridge and slammed into the building – through iron railings and a brick wall – at a speed of up to 90mph.

The three inside the car died at the scene as the vehicle erupted into a fireball. Nine people were evacuated to safety from the block.

Mr De Belen lived in nearby Ladbroke Grove but had recently been moved to a local hotel after his flat was damaged by flash-flooding.

Jason De Belen, 36, was one of three people killed when a car exploded into a fireball after smashing into a block of flats at dawn yesterday. Mr De Belen has been identified as a handyman, MailOnline can reveal

Jason De Belen, 36, was one of three people killed when a car exploded into a fireball after smashing into a block of flats at dawn yesterday. Mr De Belen has been identified as a handyman, MailOnline can reveal

He and two more men had been returning from a nightclub when their car ploughed into a block of flats near Westbourne Park tube station in leafy Notting Hill, west London. Above: The burnt out shell of a car at the scene on Great Western Road

He and two more men had been returning from a nightclub when their car ploughed into a block of flats near Westbourne Park tube station in leafy Notting Hill, west London. Above: The burnt out shell of a car at the scene on Great Western Road

A friend told MailOnline today: ‘Jason was a really warm-hearted, lovely guy. He was a family-orientated man who doted on his nine-year-old niece.

‘It’s an awful tragedy but details of what happened exactly are quite scarce at the moment.

Mr De Belen lived in nearby Ladbroke Grove

Mr De Belen lived in nearby Ladbroke Grove

‘He was a passenger in the car and he and his friend were returning home after going to a club.

‘They had given one of the barmen a lift. I’m not sure if they knew him or were just being nice and offered to take him home.

‘But Jason’s family and friends are devastated as you can imagine. He’ll be missed so much.’

Mr De Belen’s aunt, Estrella Hernandez, told how his death was a double blow for the family after the recent death of his uncle in the Philippines.

Writing on Facebook, Ms Hernandez said: ‘Our whole family is deeply saddened and grieving by the loss of our two loved ones.

‘My brother Efren Garcia who suffered from illness and my nephew Jason Garcia De Belen who died in a car accident in Notting Hill London.

‘It is so painful for our whole family to lose them during these hard times. Our failure to glance our nephew in person brings us too much sorrow and pain, not bidding him goodbye in his resting place.

Residents told how they tried to assist those trapped inside, but were forced to stand back as the car 'exploded' in flames. They said firefighters battled the blaze for roughly 20 minutes as it kept reigniting

Residents told how they tried to assist those trapped inside, but were forced to stand back as the car ‘exploded’ in flames. They said firefighters battled the blaze for roughly 20 minutes as it kept reigniting

Emergency services at the scene on the Great Western Road, Notting Hill, west London

Emergency services at the scene on the Great Western Road, Notting Hill, west London

‘May our prayers serve as comfort to them as they travel to the paradise of our Lord. We love you both forever…Goodbye for now… till we meet again.’

Flowers and a card of condolence have been attached to metal fencing erected around the crash site. 

Three simple candles have been placed next to each other in glasses on the floor.

Local residents told how they tried to assist those trapped inside, but were forced to stand back as the car ‘exploded’ in flames. They said firefighters battled the blaze for roughly 20 minutes as it kept reigniting.

One horrified witness, who lives across the road and did not wish to be named, told MailOnline that a man was seen trying to pull victims to safety amid cries of ‘Get me out!’ before their car was engulfed in flames.

‘I heard a big smash and knew it was a car crash, but not how bad it was,’ he said. ‘I came out to see what had happened and two guys were trying to get their friend out of the car, but it was being engulfed in flames.

Emergency services at the scene on the Great Western Road, Notting Hill, west London

Emergency services at the scene on the Great Western Road, Notting Hill, west London

‘They had the door open and the man was screaming ”Get me out of here!” But they couldn’t get him out and ran away. The next minute the car exploded in a fireball – there’s not really anything anyone could have done.’

The witness added: ‘I could just hear the screams of the guy saying ”Get me out! Get me out!” It must have been terrifying. It could have been my kids, could have been anyone.’

A Metropolitan Police officer at the scene said the driver had come north over a canal bridge before losing control of the vehicle, which witnesses said could be a Seat Leon.

The huge impact sent bricks flying across the road and onto neighbouring houses before the car burst into ‘yellow flames’.

Brian Waldy, 70, a retired chartered surveyor who lives in a basement flat in the building next door, said: ‘I heard this big crash and at least 10 full sized bricks fell down onto the stairs outside.

Detectives from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit are appealing for witnesses and those with dash cam footage to come forward following the incident

Detectives from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit are appealing for witnesses and those with dash cam footage to come forward following the incident 

‘I put my dressing gown on and came out and saw the bright yellow flames enveloping the car – about a metre high.

‘There was a man a couple of metres away shouting into the car something about the seatbelt buckle. 

‘But then someone else shouted ”move away, bro, it’s going to blow”, so the guy moved back and got out of the way.

‘Then there were at least two explosions and so, to be safe, I went back to my front door.’

Detectives from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit are appealing for witnesses and those with dash cam footage to come forward following the incident.

Anyone who saw the car before the incident, or who has information, video or images that could help police, is urged to call 101 ref CAD 917/14 Sept.



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