FIRE crews were called to a police headquarters yesterday after a small explosion caused by an overheated battery.
Firefighters from six fire engines took several hours to contain the fire at Durham Constabulary HQ, in Aykley Heads, Durham City, started after a lithium battery exploded.
The four-storey offices affected were evacuated of the few workers on duty soon after the fire was discovered, in an office used to store general equipment, at around 7.30am yesterday.
Despite the early drama at the headquarters, police stressed no one had been injured and that it was business as usual.
Chief Superintendent Ivan Wood said: “It has not affected business, we are still taking calls from the public and still responding to those calls.”
The office affected has been damaged by the blaze and offices nearby have also been affected by smoke. Equipment kept in the office was damaged too, although it’s not known how much it was worth.
Structural engineers are now assessing the safety of the building affected, which is set well away from the control room.
Chief Superintendent Wood continued: “At about 7.30am some members of staff were working in head office and a lithium battery that had been on charged exploded, causing a fire.
“There was no one hurt and the fire has been contained to a small area of the building, and there has been no danger to members of the public and it hasn’t affected business here at all.
“Obviously people were working in the building so it was evacuated.
“There have been six fire tenders here in total and some of the firefighters have been wearing specialist breathing equipment because of the smoke from the fire.
“Structural engineers are in looking at the building, but in terms of the rest of the building it’s unaffected, apart from some smoke damage to the main office where the fire was.
“It’s an office at the end of the building, away from main elements and away from the control room.”
A spokeswoman from Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue said: “We have been involved in an incident at police headquarters in Durham.
“This was a four-storey office building approximately 60m by 30m. The lower- ground floor, which is a battery room and workshop, was severely damaged by fire. The first-floor accommodation has been moderately damaged by smoke.”