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Whoops: Plumber sparks fire in Oxford library by accident

(File) The fire reportedly started in a service duct when flames from a gas torch touched insulation materials. Source: Shutterstock

The Radcliffe Science Library in Oxford University came within moments of being completely razed after a plumber accidentally started a fire while making repairs in its basement.

The building was evacuated after smoke alarms went off at about 3.21pm on Tuesday.

According to ThisisOxfordshire.co.uk, the underground service room was filled with smoke when firefighters entered the area.

The fire reportedly started in a service duct when flames from a gas torch touched insulation materials.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue service earlier said the fire broke out in the Pitt Rivers Museum but later confirmed it was at the library in Parks Roads.

The service said three fire engines rolled up in front of the building after receiving an emergency call allowing for ‘swift intervention’ to douse the fire out safely, preventing extensive damage to the library.

The emergency workers also commended university staff who were ‘quick thinking’

“I would urge tradespersons that use hot works to take time to review their safe systems of work surrounding the use of such equipment,” Fire incident commander, watch manager Ricky Thomas was quoted as saying.

“Fortunately, on this occasion, the university had working smoke alarms on each floor and effective emergency plans in place which both resulted in a safe outcome.”

The service or the library has yet to reveal the amount of damage caused by the fire.

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