Firefighters were called out to The Law Society’s headquarters over the weekend after a major fire broke out, damaging the historic building late on Saturday, 1 February.
The fire was brought under control early on Sunday, with no injuries sustained as a result. The alarm was sounded on Saturday night after the annual Junior Society dinner was held at the premises, 113 and 114 Chancery Lane in central London.
The fire is understood to have started in 114 Chancery Lane before spreading to 113, with 114 bearing the brunt of the damage. The Society is hoping staff can return to the premises tomorrow working out of 113.
Law Society chief executive Paul Tennant said in a statement: ‘First of all I wanted to express my gratitude to the fire service and my relief that nobody has been hurt. I also want to express my sympathy to the residents in the Chancery Lane area whom I understand may have had to evacuate their homes.’
Around 28 people had left the building before the fire brigade arrived, while 11 people were evacuated from nearby flats as a precaution. The Law Society Gazette, which is also based in the building, has sustained damage to its office while the Society’s extensive library has been unharmed. The London Fire Brigade (LFB) stated that much of the roof and part of the fifth, fourth and third floors were alight and that roughly 150 firefighters were deployed to tackle the fire. Crew have remained at the scene to minimise damage to the building.
Assistant Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Dom Ellis, said in a statement: ‘This was a very complex fire due to the age and layout of the building. Firefighters worked throughout the night in very challenging and arduous conditions to prevent the fire from spreading to key areas of the historic building, while also trying to prevent water damage.’
Few other details have been disclosed regarding the cause of the fire or the extent of the damage caused. However, Tennant added: ‘Clearly we are extremely upset that this has happened to this wonderful and historic building. When the fire alarm sounded on Saturday night an event had been taking place. An evacuation ensued and I’d like to praise our on-site staff and others for their calm response. We will release more information as it emerges in due course.’