The Old Bailey has been evacuated after a fire involving an electrical substation broke out this morning.
London Fire Brigade said four fire engines and around 25 firefighters are responding to the incident on Warwick Lane, near the rear of the Old Bailey.
Firefighters were called to the incident at 10.44am today. The LFB says the cause of the fire is not yet known.
Due to a road closure behind the Old Bailey, some of the defendants evacuated were taken onto a serco van parked on the road near the front of the court building under the observation of security and City of London police.
The BBC journalist Nick Johnson posted on social media site X: ‘Black acrid smoke coming from rear of Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey – lights flickered inside before it was evacuated – firefighter says fire in section of building where electrical substation sits.’
Some £3m has been earmarked to tackle a backlog of ‘decorative and building improvement works’ at the Old Bailey, as part of wider City of London efforts to address maintenance issues across its estate. The condition of the building was raised during a Court of Common Council meeting earlier this year, when Alderman Timothy Hailes described the stonework as in an ‘advanced state of decay’.
In December, a passer-by was hospitalised after masonry over the ‘decaying’ historic entrance to the Bailey fell on to the pavement.
Times writer David Brown shared the below on X:
Judge Mark Lucraft, the Recorder of London, heard loud bang and saw smoke. Appears to be from electrical substation, he says after meeting firefighters. Said “too early to say” when cases will resume at UKs top court. pic.twitter.com/ubfafbHiDM
— David Brown (@DavidhBrown) February 7, 2024