‘No suggestion the circumstances were suspicious,’ Law Society says of Chancery Lane fire

The Law Society of England and Wales opened for business on Wednesday

‘No suggestion the circumstances were suspicious,’ Law Society says of Chancery Lane fire

The Law Society of England and Wales said that the blaze that extensively damaged one of its historic buildings in Chancery Lane does not appear suspect.

The Law Society, which opened for business on Wednesday, said that while it’s too early to say definitively, “there is no suggestion the circumstances were suspicious.”

The fire that broke out on Saturday night extensively damaged the roof and the upper floors of Chancery Lane 114, one of the organisation’s two interconnected buildings. Chancery Lane 113 is “untouched,” the Law Society said.

Paul Tennant, chief executive of the Law Society, said that the first concern of the organisation was for its guests and staff. Once it was established that there were no injuries, the Law Society focused on its landmark building. Tennant praised how the London Fire Brigade (LFB) battled the blaze.

“While the fire caused extensive damage to the roof and upper floors of 114 we are delighted that 113 – housing the library, Reading Room and other key areas most familiar to our members and visitors – was preserved. We are indebted to the remarkable work of the fire service,” he said.  

The reopening of the Law Society for business, with planned meetings and events going ahead yesterday is a testament to the staff and everyone who works with the Law Society, Tennant said. The president also thanked well-wishers who have sent messages of support and offers of help.

“[All] of these were greatly appreciated at this challenging time. We have begun the process of assessing the damage and managing the next stage of our recovery,” he said.

The LFB earlier said that about 150 firefighters and 25 engines responded to the fire. Dom Ellis, LFB assistant commissioner, said that the age and layout of the building made it a “very complex” fire.

“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,” Ellis said.

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