An electrical fire caused ‘chaos’ in Holborn, central London after thousands of people were evacuated from the area, while firefighters battled for hours to control the blaze.

Witnesses at the scene of the Holborn electrical fire said they ‘struggled to breathe’ as smoke poured out from drains at Kingsway.

Fire crews attended the scene at midday on Wednesday and battled for seven hours to bring the blaze under control. At least 20 of the 70 firefighters who attended the incident remained at the scene of the fire overnight to monitor the situation.

The UK fire rescue service continues to remain threatened by funding cuts from the government which has so far resulted in 5,000 firefighter jobs being cut and 39 fire station closures.

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors said “The incident at Holborn yesterday caused widespread disruption and concern amongst people based in the local area.

“The attendance of a 70-strong fire crew at the scene of the Holborn fire yesterday meant that the situation was contained, made safe, and crucially the safety of those in the area was assured.

“The professionalism of our fire service, with firefighters risking their lives to safeguard ours by ensuring that potentially catastrophic situations like yesterday's fire are controlled, goes on daily and yet the Tories and the Lib Dems have seen fit to reign massive cuts on this essential and dedicated workforce. From staffing and stations to firefighters’ pensions - everything has been under attack.

“At Thompsons we stand shoulder to shoulder with the FBU, in opposition to these vindictive cuts.”