Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Doubt over Kings of Leon gig after bus blaze

Thousands of fans hoping to attend a sell-out show tonight by the group Kings of Leon were facing possible disappointment after two tour buses being used by the band were destroyed in a fire at the 02.

Assessments were being carried out as to whether the show at the arena in Greenwich, south-east London, will go ahead following the blaze in a loading area which gutted the buses and left six people needing treatment for smoke inhalation.

A spokesman for the group was unable to confirm whether equipment or belongings had been lost on board the buses.

He said tickets to see the band tonight at the arena, whose hit single Sex On Fire was number one for three weeks in 2008, had been sold out "months ago".

He said: "Our primary concern was that nobody was hurt. We are just trying to work out what the best way to proceed is."

Around 60 firefighters battled the blaze after being called to the scene at 8.18 this morning. The fire is under control, but firefighters remain at the scene.

A spokesman for London Fire Brigade (LFB) said: "In terms of the causes of the fire at this stage, both coaches are completely burnt out. The crews have worked incredibly well. They will remain at the scene for some time, understandably, but the fire is out."

He added: "The dome is fine, the structure is fine. There is no damage to the structure of the dome."

Station manager Sally Cartwright, who is at the scene, said: "Two tour buses were on fire within a loading bay at the O2.

"We have got around 60 firefighters at the scene and they worked hard to bring the blaze under control.

"Our crews did a fantastic job, especially given the levels of smoke down here which led to quite challenging conditions."

The O2's sprinkler system successfully activated and this had helped firefighters bring the blaze swiftly under control, LFB said.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

A spokeswoman for the 02 said an assessment was now taking place as to whether the Kings of Leon show will go ahead.

She said: "The fire is under control and no injuries reported.

"Assessments are currently under way and we expect to make a decision in the next couple of hours as to whether tonight's Kings of Leon show will go ahead.

"We will keep our website updated."

A London Ambulance Service (LAS) spokeswoman said: "We were called just before 0845 to reports of a fire near the 02 arena in Greenwich. We sent an ambulance crew, a hazardous area response team, a support vehicle and a duty officer.

"Our staff have treated six patients for smoke inhalation but at this stage no one has needed further treatment in hospital."