Page last updated at 22:02 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Firefighters tackle blaze in City


The building belongs to the Immigration and Appeals Commission

Firefighters are continuing to tackle a fire in a building in central London, London Fire Brigade (LFB) has said.

Crews were called to Field House in Chancery Lane, near Holborn, at about 1540 GMT on Wednesday.

The fire is in the five-storey Immigration and Appeals Commission building, which was being refurbished at the time. No-one was trapped inside.

An LFB spokesman said 75 firefighters are at the site "making sure it does not spread to adjacent buildings".

Fire in Chancery Lane. Image from Jasper Pandza
The fire spread very rapidly, one student said it was just a little fire on the roof and 10 minutes later it was this blaze I photographed
Jasper Pandza, eyewitness

LFB said most of the roof and a part of the fifth floor of the building caught fire.

The spokesman said: "We are doing salvage work on floors up to the fourth floor."

It added that 130 people had been evacuated from the building before fire crews arrived.

Parts of two other adjacent buildings have also been evacuated, LFB said.

Three 2.3 stone (15kg) propane cylinders were found on the site.

Fifteen fire engines continued to tackle the blaze on Wednesday night.

A Tribunals Service spokesperson said: "We are at present trying to contact those who were due to have hearings in the building tomorrow to advise them not to attend."

Police have cordoned off Chancery Lane at the junction with Fleet Street and stopped traffic from entering.

Map of Chancery Lane

Jasper Pandza, who is based at the Maughan Library at King's College, said: "The fire spread very rapidly, one student said it was just a little fire on the roof and 10 minutes later it was this blaze I photographed.

"The library building was luckily not evacuated."

Chancery Lane is an historic area, with some parts dating back centuries. It derives its name from the historic High Court of Chancery.

The area is predominately occupied by the legal profession and consulting firms.

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