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Thick black smoke pictured in blaze near Archives

A blaze near the National Archives in Kew, London has been pictured by locals around the area. Thick black smoke could be seen from Chiswick Bridge.

National Archives later said the fire had been put out and that records were safe and unharmed.

Kew fire near National Archives 'under investigation'

A blaze near the National Archives in London caused "significant damage" to two water towers close to the area, London Fire Brigade said in a statement.

The rescue service added:

Crews tackled the blaze, which was affecting two disused water towers, and brought the fire under control quickly. No injuries were reported. The fire caused significant damage to the water towers and smoke could be seen from the surrounding area.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Water towers blaze near National Archives

Around 20 firefighters are tackling a blaze close to the National Archives. London Fire Brigade said two disused water towers which were in the process of being decommissioned caught fire in Kew, south west London, at about 12.30pm.

Library image of the National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey. Credit: PA

Both towers are now "100% alight", a fire service spokeswoman said. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "No-one is trapped or injured."

Police, who were called at 12.37pm, are providing assistance at the scene, he added.


Libya offers UK help in hunt for WPC Fletcher's killer

Salah al Marghani said lines of communication were "100 per cent open" over the killing of WPC Yvonne Fletcher.

Libyan justice minister Salah al Marghani has said the country is offering Britain full transparency and help in bringing WPC Yvonne Fletcher's killer to justice.

"It is another crime of the Gaddafi regime and there is full cooperation in this case and we have 100 per cent open lines with the UK on these issues," Mr al Marghani said.

Newly released government files have shown Libya twice warned the UK of potential violence on the eve of the shooting of Ms Fletcher outside the Libyan People's Bureau in London in 1984.

The gunman who fired the fatal shot from inside the embassy has never been identified.

UK ambassador took Libya threat 'seriously' despite bet

Oliver Miles said he thought Libya's warning of possible violence was an attempt to stop a rally outside the People's Bureau in London.

The former British ambassador in Tripoli has told ITV News he took a threat of violence on the eve of the shooting of WPc Yvonne Fletcher "seriously" after it was revealed he bet a Libyan diplomat that nothing would happen.

Oliver Miles was summoned to the Libyan foreign ministry shortly after midnight on April 17 1984 to receive a warning of possible violence if a planned demonstration by opponents of Colonel Gaddafi went ahead that day outside the Libyan People's Bureau in London.

Mr Miles filed a telegram to the Foreign Office (FCO) reporting the warning, one of a number of documents released under the 30-year rule by the National Archives.

Other papers show two officials from the People's Bureau also telephoned the FCO to express concern about the demonstration the next day.

"I did take it seriously and that's why I reported it to London," Mr Miles told ITV News. "I didn't know, of course, that there was going to be a shooting. I thought they were simply trying to have the demonstration stopped."

Thatcher considered deploying troops in miners' strike

Margaret Thatcher considered calling on troops at the height of the miners' strike amid fears union action could destroy her government, according to newly-declassified files.

A Kent picketer clasps hands with a miner outside Cortonwood Colliery in Yorkshire. Credit: PA Archive

Government papers from 1984, released by the National Archives, show ministers were so concerned at the outbreak of a national docks strike while the miners were still out, they considered declaring a state of emergency.

Plans were drawn up for thousands of service personnel to commandeer trucks to move vital supplies of food and coal around the country.

It is thought to be the closest Mrs Thatcher came to defeat in her battle with the miners but the scheme was never implements after the dockers' action petered out after less than two weeks.

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