Free Press Journal

London grapples with two major fires


London,: A large fire broke out at an industrial unit in north-west London overnight to compound the task of the city’s fire service, which is still struggling to put out an underground fire below a pavement in central London close to the Indian High Commission. Nearly 5,000 people had been evacuated yesterday and the power lines remain cut off for a second day in the busy Holborn area of the city as London Fire Brigade (LFB) officers work on fully extinguishing the tunnel fire. Meanwhile, not far off in Park Royal area of north-west London fire crews have been battling a serious blaze which broke out overnight in a warehouse.

London Fire Brigade said the ground floor and first floor were alight and a large section of the roof was also on fire. The cause of this blaze also remains unknown. “The fire is causing a lot of smoke in the Park Royal area and locals should shut windows and doors,” a fire brigade spokesperson said. On the Holborn area fire, LFB assistant commissioner Dany Cotton said: “This is a technically difficult and unusual incident to tackle as it is underground.

“Firefighters have, however, been applying water through access points throughout the night, to control the spread of the fire.”  More than 35 firefighters and six fire engines are still at the scene and local road closures are in place. The cause of the fire is still unknown. The London School of Economics (LSE) and Indian High Commission building are among nearly 100 businesses affected by the loss of power. “There is no power or internet in the building. We have a generator so the building has lights,” an India House spokesperson said.

The city is gearing up for a long holiday weekend for Easter and most offices will remain shut from Good Friday till Easter Monday. Scotland Yard inspector Neil Johnson said: “I imagine this road will be closed a long time after this is finished because of damage the heat does to the road. “It will have to remain closed until a structural engineer examines it properly and either he or she says what work has to be done and that work is completed – this is not an overnight job.”

UK Power Networks said the number of customers currently affected by the power cuts stood at about 1,000 and it had restored power to about 2,000. Apologising to customers Matt Rudling, from UK Power Networks, said: “The gas is still burning under there and until we can gain access to that particular area we won’t understand what’s caused it and what we can do.

“We want to try and restore [power to] all those remaining customers by the end of day today.”