Charing Cross fire: Station closed and 100 evacuated over blaze on train

National Rail warns of at least two hours of travel disruption

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The Independent Online

Charing Cross station was closed and at least 100 people evacuated after a fire broke out on a train this morning, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) has said.

Four fire engines were called to the scene of the blaze, involving the front carriage of a train at platform six, at 10.52am this morning.

Passengers described fleeing in fear and there were initial reports of a "bomb ripping through the train", though British Transport Police have now said they believe the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

A spokesperson for the LFB said the fire had caused damage to the rails and a hotel within the station, as well as to the carriage itself, but that the blaze had since been brought under control.

The train was almost ready to depart for Tunbridge Wells in Kent when the fire started, and witnesses on board said "no-one really knew what was going on".

Eileen Harris, 60, said "Suddenly the doors burst open and a woman ran through shouting there's a bomb on the train, everybody get off.

"We ran away towards the opposite end of the station because I thought that if there was a bomb, they'd probably take out the concourse.

"But the staff kept saying to us come back in and we really didn't want to come back through the station, because by then there was thick smoke.

"Where the fire was there were big bangs and pops and flashes. And the smoke, the smoke was the worst thing."

Ms Harris's son Daniel, 26, said: "There was fire and lots of thick smoke, so we assumed that there was a bomb ripping through the train. No-one really knew what was going on."

National Rail said that the station had reopened at around 1pm, but that the fire was expected to continue causing significant disruption until at least 3pm.


An employee at the station, Annika Anwary, said: "I was in the staffroom. I heard the alarm so I came upstairs and I saw the train was burning on the platform.

"There were quite a lot of flames and flashing lights as well."

"People were just all running out of there," Ms Anwary said. "Most of them had already left by the time I came up.

"They tried to stay calm but there were definitely people running."

British Transport Police said the fire was "believed to have been the result of an electrical fault". A spokesperson said there were no suspicious circumstances and that the station was evacuated "as a precaution".

A spokesperson for the London Ambulance Service said two patients were treated at the scene following the fire.

She said: "We were called at 10.55am to reports of a fire on a train at Charing Cross.

"We sent a duty manager to the scene and two patients were checked over, but nobody was taken to hospital.

"Our involvement in the incident has now concluded."

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