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A blaze that caused chaos at one of the top courts in the land was caused by an e-bike battery failure, fire chiefs have confirmed.
More than a dozen firefighters with specialist gear from three fire engines rushed to battle the blaze at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday.
Bosses at London Fire Brigade (LFB) believe the fire was caused by a lithium battery.
The fire destroyed part of a ground floor storage room and caused chaos outside as it disrupted traffic in the Strand, London.
Fires involving lithium batteries are the fastest growing fire risk in London, with LFB called to an e-bike or e-scooter fire once every two days on average last year.
More than a dozen firefighters with specialist gear (pictured) from three fire engines rushed to battle the blaze at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday
No one was injured in the blaze at the Royal Courts of Justice earlier this week
Bosses at London Fire Brigade (LFB) believe the fire was caused by a lithium battery
The LFB said: ‘Whilst E-Bikes and E-Scooters offer a great way round the city, if the batteries become damaged or begin to fail they can start incredibly ferocious fires.
‘Lithium battery fires can spread quickly out of control, and within minutes have started a large fire.
‘When these batteries are charged in communal areas or escape routes, a fire breaking out can quickly block people’s ability to escape.’
After the fire at the Royal Courts of Justice, an LFB spokesperson said: ‘A fire in a store room at a court on Strand in Westminster is believed to have been caused by the failure of a lithium battery pack on an e-bike.
‘Thankfully no one was hurt.’
At the time of the blaze, the force said: ‘Three fire engines and around 15 firefighters responded to a fire at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand.
‘Part of a ground floor storage space was destroyed by the fire.
‘The Brigade was called about the incident at 2.09pm, and the fire was under control by 3.30pm.
‘Firefighters from Soho and Lambeth Fire Station attended the scene.’
Just a day after the fire, London firefighters were back in the area to battle a blaze at the nearby Old Bailey after reports of a ‘series of explosions’ and ‘black acrid smoke’ coming from a nearby building.
Around 1500 people were evacuated from the Central Criminal Court and surrounding area on Wednesday morning, with dozens of barristers wearing black gowns and wigs seen lining the street outside.
Defendants were seen being walked out of a side exit and into a waiting prison van. They were escorted by uniformed City of London Police officers.
The fire disrupted dozens of cases, including the trial of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon as well as the inquest into the 2020 Reading terror attack.
A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade confirmed they had been called to the court, where cases have had to be halted for the day, shortly before 11am following an ‘incident involving an electrical substation’.
Crews currently on scene are checking out ‘multiple buildings’ on Warwick Lane.
Witnesses said the Old Bailey was evacuated after lights flickered inside.
Crews had to check out ‘multiple buildings’ on Warwick Lane
Firefighters are at the scene of the incident in central London
Member of the legal profession are seen outside the Old Bailey amid the incident
The Old Bailey had to be evacuated amid the incident
Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters responding to an incident on Warwick Lane
Barristers and other court users were told by security officials that they would not be allowed to go back inside until after safety checks had been carried out as people have been warned to avoid the area.
One witness who tweeted video of the incident wrote on X: ‘Series of explosions heard from building next to Old Bailey for about 10 minutes before smoke emerges. Many buildings seem to have suffered power cuts.’
Firefighters rushed to the Old Bailey in London after reports of a ‘series of explosions’ and ‘black acrid smoke’ coming from a nearby building
London Fire Brigade said: ‘Firefighters are currently responding to reports of smoke issuing from a building in Warwick Lane’
The LFB said traffic in the area is likely to be impacted as they respond
The LFB tweeted on the day: ‘Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters are responding to an incident involving an electrical substation on Warwick Lane, near the rear of the Old Bailey.
‘Traffic in the area is likely to be impacted as we respond.’
Firefighters worked with UK Power Networks to make the scene safe and bring the fire under control.
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