Workers and residents evacuated as fire burns under Holborn streets | Offices.org.uk

Workers and residents evacuated as fire burns under Holborn streets

Posted on by Offices.org.uk

THOUSANDS of office workers, students and residents were evacuated yesterday after a fire started under the pavement in the West End.

The unusual fire saw smoke emerging from the streets and flames leaping up from the ground in and around Kingsway, Holborn.

Offices and homes nearby lost their power as emergency services tried to get the fire under control.

A statement from UK Power Networks today says:

“A major gas fire in an underground tunnel is still burning so we cannot yet access our equipment. Our engineers have restored power to 2000 customers and the remaining 1100 will regain power through generators and cable works as soon as possible. We had over a hundred staff working through the night and work continues today. We are working with the emergency services and other agencies to keep affected customers updated. The cause of the incident is being investigated.”

London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Dany Cotton said:

“This is a technically difficult and unusual incident to tackle as it is underground. Fire-fighting in tunnels is very hazardous and one of the reasons that the fire is still burning is because of the dangers involved in extinguishing the fire before the gas supply is shut down, which could result in the risk of a subsequent gas explosion. Firefighters have however been applying water through access points throughout the night, to control the spread of the fire.

“The fire is contained in the tunnel and we are making steady progress and working with the utility companies and the police to bring this incident to a close. Local road closures are still in place and it is affecting over one hundred businesses. We’d ask people to avoid the immediate area if possible.”

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