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.
West End shows including The Lion King, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Play That Goes Wrong were cancelled last night. The blaze was said to have been caused by faulty electrical cables underground, sending thick clouds of smoke into the air – engulfing buildings.
Fire was running along a three-metre wide tunnel that runs for 400metres between Great Queen Street and Aldwych in central London.
Earlier yesterday, fire crews said they were waiting for utility companies to disconnect the power supplies before tackling the flames.
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