2 April 2015 - Major blaze in central London
More than 2,000 forced to flee after major central London blaze
Jamie Grierson (The Guardian)
More than 2,000 people were evacuated from buildings along a main road in central London after an electrical fire sent thick black smoke billowing into the air. Ten fire engines and 70 firefighters were called to the scene in Kingsway, a busy north-south route through central London.
London fire brigade said it was called at around 12.40pm to a blaze in Holborn thought to have been caused by a faulty electrical junction box. It was brought under control at around 8.10pm.
London fire brigade assistant commissioner Peter Cowup said it had used a “well-rehearsed plan” to prevent the fire in power cables from spreading to nearby buildings. “Crews worked closely with the various electricity companies involved to identify the source and extent of the fire which was underground. As this was likely to be an electrical fire, we had to ensure the power was off before we applied water to extinguish it,” he said.
Staff (Sky News)
Passer-by Nicola Foxfield, 29, said: "I could smell burning in the air. As I got closer I could see fire engines everywhere.
"Then I could see loads of thick, brown smoke rising off the road.
"It's chaos and fire engines are coming from every direction and there are so many people around."
Another witness said he "struggled to breathe" as smoke seeped through the drains as he walked along Aldwych, at the bottom of Kingsway.
He said: "I was close enough to see thick black smoke puffing out of the drain grilles and I struggled to breathe.
Several prominent performances in the West End theatre district were cancelled due to the blaze, including The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Beautiful and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
"It may seem like an April Fool's joke (and you know what we're like!), but tonight's performance is most definitely cancelled #sorry," tweeted the Duchess Theatre's The Play That Goes Wrong.
Show organisers urged those with tickets to contact the vendors they bought their tickets from to arrange refunds.
Firefighters, who believe the blaze was caused by an electrical fault among cables underground, said they could not start to tackle it "effectively" until all power supplies had been turned off.
Mark Duell (Daily Mail)
Some 5,000 homes and businesses in central London were left without electricity last night after an underground fire caused a huge power cut.
Phone lines went down, thousands of workers fled their offices and High Court judges were evacuated when the fierce blaze broke out yesterday.
Firefighters were called to Holborn in the West End after thick black smoke was seen billowing up from a manhole cover shortly after midday.
Onlookers reported ‘struggling to breathe’ and ‘chaos’ in the area as those evacuated waited on the street and traffic began to pile up.
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"2 April 2015 - Major blaze in central London", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), février 2015. Consulté le 07/12/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2015/2-april-2015-major-blaze-in-central-london