“Fire crews are dealing with an electrical fire among cables under the pavement on Kingsway, Holborn,” the London Fire Brigade (LFB) said in a statement, according to the Xinhua news agency.
“A large safety cordon is in place and more than 2,000 people have been evacuated from a number of nearby buildings due to the large quantity of thick black smoke in the area,” the statement added.
The Metropolitan Police declared a “major incident” after blocks housing businesses and part of the London School of Economics had to be cleared by the emergency services, The Independent reported.
As the smoke spread, the Holborn Tube station was closed and the Royal Courts of Justice also had to be evacuated along with some nearby West End theatres, the report said. BBC added that a number of West End shows had to be cancelled as a result of the fire.
An alarm was raised after smoke was seen coming out of an inspection cover on a pavement, according to local fire authorities.
Around 70 firefighters rushed to the scene to tackle the fire, according to Xinhua. “No reports of injuries and local offices have been evacuated,” LFB tweeted.
LFB said six fire engines and tens of firefighters and officers were at the scene, while crews were waiting for utility companies to disconnect the power supplies before tackling the blaze.
The blaze was believed to have originated in a service duct that carries gas, electric and water through the city. (IANS)