A year away from the Olympics, Euston station fire raises transport staffing concerns

A YEAR away from the London Olympics tube union RMT has raised staffing concerns again following a fire alert incident at Euston station just over a week ago.

The most recent fire at Euston was in the air vents and comes almost exactly a year after an escalator fire at the same station. The latest incident was tackled by a large team of fire fighters who warned just how easy it is for flammable material to find its way into the air vents.

Last year's escalator fire was picked up by member of staff, as the fire detection system was defective. This year, the fire also coincided with defective equipment. The Public Address system was not working, so staff had to hurry around the station with megaphones to get everybody out.

The training and experience of the station based staff ensured a safe evacuation.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“Almost exactly a year on from last year's fire in an escalator machine room, Euston station has had yet another reminder of the constant risks to safety and the need for staff on the Underground. This is a wake-up call for Boris Johnson and Transport for London just a year away from the Olympics.

“With the ever-present risk, and the problem of unreliable detection and evacuation equipment, the only thing that stands between safety and a major catastrophe is the presence of staff.

“RMT will continue to defend safe “section 12” staffing numbers, and to fight for more staff, to reflect the real numbers needed in a real-life evacuation as passenger numbers continue to rise and we begin the countdown to the London Olympics.”

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