Fire and Diamonds

1-hatton-garden-holborn-fire-mainNot uncommonly, Easter bestrode Passover this year and both arose under the portent of a blood-red moon. On the home front there were signs for the end of days or perhaps just the start of the holidays.

My granddaughter just managed to make it out of London’s Euston in the small window of opportunity between the suicide/accident which closed all lines heading North and the big Easter rail shut down for engineering works. And then just as suddenly, Holborn tube station was closed, Kingsway and the Strand were in blackout whilst flames from an electrical fire met gas leak, which burned for a significant number of hours beneath our pavements.

No smoke without fire – indeed – and there was plenty of that. As well as lines of barricades, utility company vans, and a hundred or so police officers, loitering without intent since there were no hordes to control or evacuate.

“Perfect time to commit a crime elsewhere” I remarked to myself and just half a mile away in Hatton Garden’s jewelery quarter, thieves were cutting through concrete and helping themselves to diamonds and gems in 80 or so safety deposit boxes. The heist was seemingly achieved with the leisure of the double holiday, a new alarm system that was not switched on and the ability to smash and drill as if all part of the Network Rail moleworkings that have beset underground London for many, many months.

Step forward O’Connor of the yard, ex Chief Inspector of the flying squad with his theory. The papers lapped it up:”Holborn fire could be linked to same gang behind Hatton Garden diamond heist.”

Not so say the fire brigade – an electrical fault started the fire. And fumes from cracked pipes added fuel, admit the Gas company. But alas for once there was no water seeping from our usually leaky water pipes to combat the blaze.

The flames were eventually doused and the thieves made an easy getaway with the stolen gems. Put together, the events cast a whole new meaning on the colloquial “fire diamond” used by emergency personnel to quickly and easily identify the risks posed by hazardous materials. One should also consider the risk posed by concentrating police resources in one locale.

Footnote to this news story: “A burglar alarm [at the Hatton Garden vaults] did briefly sound on Good Friday but it was claimed that police who attended the scene did not fully investigate after noticing nothing amiss.” They were probably keen to get back to the fire.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ripped from the Headlines.” Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.


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