Fire drama at police base

Firefighters outside Durham Constabulary headquarters
Firefighters outside Durham Constabulary headquarters
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A BATTERY explosion sparked a blaze after blowing out windows at a police force’s headquarters.

The blaze at Durham Constabulary’s base, in Aykley Heads, Durham City, broke out yesterday morning when a lithium battery held in a storage area overheated before blowing up, blasting out several panes of glass.

Two officers were nearby when the fire broke out, but no-one was hurt.

The pair were later sent home for the day. Firefighters, along with hazardous materials specialists, spent almost three hours containing the blaze and ensuring the building was free of harmful chemicals.

The fire, which started at 7.30am, was contained within the four-storey office building with the aid of several teams of firefighters.

Police stopped traffic entering the site until the crews were stood down, shortly after 11am.

A ground-floor battery storage room and workshop suffered severe damage, while offices above the fire also sustained smoke damage.

Structural engineers will visit the site today to assess the damage before deciding whether any rebuilding work will be needed.

Chief Superintendent Ivan Woods, of Durham Constabulary, assessed the damage after the fire was put out.

He said: “Fortunately, the explosion was not in an operational area, so it is still business as usual for us today.”