HC Deb 31 January 1956 vol 548 cc730-1
2. Lieut-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Works whether the cause of the fire at the Admiralty has now been investigated; and what improved precautions in Government offices have been put into effect.

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn

Investigations have been carried out by the London Fire Brigade and my Department's fire officers. The cause cannot be determined with certainty, but is likely to have been due to a match or a cigarette end.

I believe that the existing precautions in occupied Government offices are adequate. Instructions have, however, now been given that buildings such as the Admiralty old building, which are empty and in which building work is being carried out, are to be patrolled at night in order to reduce the risk of accidental fire.

Lieut-Colonel Upton

While welcoming the improved precautions now being adopted to ensure that no buildings in Whitehall are left unattended, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman can say why the member of the public who first reported this fire was detained for ten hours at Cannon Row Police Station? That does not seem to be very encouraging to members of the public who are trying to make up for the negligence of the Government in these matters.

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn

That is nothing to do with me. But I can say that the police are satisfied that the young man in question had nothing to do with the cause of the fire.

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