About 2,000 people have been cleared from offices, restaurants and shops this afternoon as smoke billowed from manhole covers in Kingsway, Holborn.
Emergency services say that the “major incident” close to the LSE’s Holborn campus and not far from King’s College London was caused by a fire beneath the pavement started by power cables.
The fire cannot be put out until the electricity cables are turned off, firefighters say. LSE’s press office was unavailable for comment.
Holborn Tube station has been closed because of the incident, but it is believed that underground services are still running.
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said that the situation in Holborn will get worse until electricity companies switch off the power.
“When cables burn they produce a great deal of toxic smoke and it’s not safe to be playing around with live cables,” he said.