Union demand over Tube 'fire' incident

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Union leaders today called for an investigation into an incident at a London Tube station which it claimed had parallels to the Kings Cross fire disaster more than 20 years ago.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union said there was an escalator fire at Euston last month after smoke detection systems failed, and said the station was safely evacuated by staff.

London Underground denied there was a fire and said safety procedures were correctly followed after smoke was detected coming from an escalator after a cable shorted.

The union is currently balloting its members on London Underground for strike action in a row over job cuts.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Anyone who is in any doubt as to why we are balloting for action over the threat to safety-critical Tube station jobs only needs to look at the incident report into the Euston escalator fire four weeks ago.

"Fire detection systems failed and it was only the vigilance and experience of station-based staff that averted what could have been a major disaster.

"Not only should Mayor Boris Johnson now call an immediate halt to the station job cuts programme but there should also be a full, external investigation into the fire detection systems on escalators across the Tube network which failed at Euston on July 6."

A Transport for London spokesman said: "The safety of passengers and staff is our top priority. On July 6 a member of staff at Euston station noticed smoke coming from the top of an escalator and the station was evacuated swiftly and safely, in line with our safety procedures.

"London Underground has carried out a full investigation and retested all alarm systems at the station, to ensure they are fully working.

"This incident demonstrates the importance we place on having our staff on hand in ticket halls and platform areas to help customers and safeguard their welfare."