Old Bailey expected to reopen following fire

1 week ago 18

Fire engine behind hazard tape, with firefighters in the distance

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There were no reported casualties as a result of the fire on Wednesday

The Old Bailey is expected to reopen on Monday following a fire inside the high-security building.

About 1,500 people were evacuated from the central London building after an electrical substation fire on Wednesday.

London Fire Brigade said the cause of the fire was "accidental" and not being treated as suspicious.

Emergency works were taking place to restore power to the building on Thursday and Friday.

The Recorder of London, Judge Mark Lucraft KC said the building, which houses 18 courtrooms, would reopen on Monday but various health and safety checks needed to be made before this could happen.

He added cases would be listed from 12:00 GMT on Monday to allow staff to check courtroom systems were working properly.

Four fire engines and 25 firefighters were sent to the scene of the incident after a member of security staff heard a loud explosion, London Fire Brigade said.

As a result of the fire there was a power cut and windowless courtrooms were plunged into darkness.

Black smoke was seen billowing from the rear of the building in Warwick Lane.

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Watch: Old Bailey evacuated after fire breaks out

Judges, barristers and other court users gathered outside the building during the evacuation and two people had to be rescued from lifts inside the building.

Defendants were seen being escorted by police out of a side exit and into waiting prison vans to be returned to jail.

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The fire was found to have burnt itself out inside the substation, LFB said

The Old Bailey is the country's most famous criminal court and has high-level security as it hears major criminal cases, including murder and terrorism trials.

In the past, it has been identified as a high-value terror target and was badly damaged in an IRA car bomb attack in 1973.

The fire caused disruption to dozens of cases, including the ongoing trial of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon who are accused of the manslaughter of their baby daughter, and the inquest into the deaths of the victims of the Reading terror attack in June 2020.

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