The rail operating company believes that it was an electrical fault that started the fire in Charing Cross, a train station in London. The blaze had passengers running and screaming in terror, as many thought there was a bomb.
Luckily, no one was hurt in the ensuing chaos. A 60-year-old passenger, Eileen Harris, described the situation to BBC News.
“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.”
According to another passenger, there were about 30 to 40 people on the station platform at the time of the fire.
The train most affected by the fire was the 10:55 South Eastern Train service to Robertsbridge, in Sussex, close to London.
The Daily Mail reports that officers were able to deal with the fire quickly to prevent many delays. The real harm appears to have been to people’s nerves. As passenger Jacob Lovie explained to the Daily Mail, the scene was chaotic and started with what sounded like an explosion.
“I was sitting on the platform and there was this loud screech and a big bang. Smoke went everywhere and a few people were screaming. It looked like a train hadn’t braked properly and had gone into the big buffer at the end of the track. People were jogging quite calmly to the exit and the alarms were going off. I was outside when the first police car came and told everyone to move away.”
He added that it appeared to him that the train hit the buffers and that’s what started the fire. However, the rail company in charge of the train, Southeastern, denied that report.
There was also apparently smoke damage to a nearby hotel. A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade explained the incident in a bit more detail.
“There was a fire reported on a train at 10.52. Five fire engines were in attendance and the fire is now out on the train but we are dealing with the smoke damage to the hotel next door.”
More than 30 firefighters were called onto the train station after the fire broke out. They successfully prevented Charing Cross from becoming more charred.
A video of the London train station fire can be seen below.
[Image Credit: Bernard Gagnon/Wikimedia Commons]