Messages from Steven Wright, Chief Inspector Neighbourhood Policing, Camden
At last good news. Within the last hour, 7pm Sunday 5th April, the Kingsway area has been declared safe and is now open to pedestrians. The majority of premises have had power restored and many also have gas. People have been allowed access back in to their buildings. The southbound carriageways and one lane northbound will hopefully be opened to traffic in the next couple of days.
The problem with giving updates on any situation is they seem to change not long after they are sent. The latest I have at 12:00 today, Saturday 4th April 2015, is that the London Fire Brigade have raised concerns about CO2 levels in the area. They are not sure if there is an issue or that they are just residual from the initial fire. They want a period of time to see if they change and so at 1pm today they will start the monitoring again. This is why the area has not been re-opened yet. If the levels are down then the LFB want to escort individuals in to the buildings to monitor the readings before they are happy to leave any members of public.
Public safety is paramount and the police have to be guided by the LFB. All agencies and the council are aware of the disruption this is causing to peoples lives and are working around the clock to get everything back to some form of normality as soon as possible.
At 1pm Friday 3rd April, the good news is that the gas leak has now been capped and all the fires are out. Structural engineers are assessing the tunnels under the roads. The utility companies are digging several large holes in the road and an unsafe tree is being cut down and whilst the area is not open to the general public yet, police officers are escorting key holders into buildings within the cordoned area to allow people to recover property and secure their buildings. Hopefully later this afternoon / evening the area will be fully reopened to pedestrians but it will be some time before the road is reopened to vehicles.
The incident has gone from an emergency phase run by the London Fire Brigade, to one of restoration led by the London Borough of Camden.
2 April 2015
As you are probably aware, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) are dealing with a gas leak that has caught fire in Kingsway, Holborn. It started on Wednesday 1st April and, as I type 7:30pm Thursday 2nd, National Grid Gas are trying to isolate the gas supply. This has been made more difficult due to the proximity of electricity cables. The whole of Kingsway has been closed to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The plan is that once the gas has been turned off the LFB will put out any residual fire. When the area is declared safe, it will be reopened to pedestrian traffic. I have not been given a timescale for this.
Due to the intensity of the fire there is structural damage to the road and it is likely to be closed to vehicles for a considerable time. This incident is being run by the LFB and they are providing regular updates via their twitter feed @londonfire