Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A fire on Aldwych, in central London, England, has led to serious traffic problems in the area since this morning. Many roads have been closed for some hours while firefighters attempt to extinguish the blaze. There are no reports of any casualties.

The blaze is at Marconi House, a ten-storey building currently being converted into flats and a luxury hotel, near the church of St Mary le Strand, King’s College London and Somerset House. The alert was raised at about 11 a.m. BST (10 a.m. UTC). About 75 firefighters in 15 fire engines were sent to the scene, from depots including Homerton and Whitechapel in east London and Old Kent Road in south-east London. Ambulances, including hazardous response teams, and police officers are also in attendance.

Local roads, including Waterloo Bridge and parts of the Strand, have been closed to traffic, causing significant disruption to travellers. At least ten bus routes are affected, and the London Underground is accepting bus tickets for travel within the affected area.

The cause of the fire is unknown at present, but is located in the roof of the building. The smoke could be seen from large parts of central London, and was still coming from the roof some hours after it started.

When Wikinews returned to the area at 7.45 p.m. local time, traffic was still prevented from passing the building although the pavement on the south side of Aldwych (furthest from Marconi House) had been reopened to pedestrians. The scene was still under the control of the London Fire Brigade (LFB), with police cars and ambulances still in attendance. Waterloo Bridge and the Strand were still closed to vehicles, with about fifteen fire engines or LFB command vehicles parked close by and many hosepipes running across the road. Some smoke could still be seen coming from the roof of the building, but less than before. Some damage to the roof was also visible.

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Smoke as seen from Waterloo Bridge at about 2.30 p.m.Image: Bencherlite.

Emergency services on the scene at about 2.30 p.m.Image: Bencherlite.

The scene at about 7.45 p.m, with London Fire Brigade hoses running along the closed road.Image: Bencherlite.

Marconi House, under conversion into a hotel and flats, is at the west end of Aldwych, by the north end of Waterloo Bridge.Image: Bencherlite.