back to article Fire at Google UK

Staff at Google's London lair have been evacuated after fire broke out. Four fire engines were called to the blaze. Reports of staff fleeing the blaze on Segways at high speed (8mph) could not be confirmed. The conflagration caused much excitement at the Daily Stenograph newspaper, which is sited opposite Google's Victoria HQ …


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  1. Jeroen Braamhaar

    I say ...

    ... it was a failed attempt by Google's Smoke Signal Department to monetize/control/dominate yet another form of communication ...

    ... although I wonder how they're going to route TCP/IP packets over it ...

    Flame icon, obviously ...

  2. David 39

    Just Another reason

    Why the internets is so dangerous, shut it down, shut it down now!

    Ahh medication....

  3. Chronos

    Employees searched for fire extinguishers...

    ...and got several million results, none useful.

  4. alan 39

    I think

    Its just one engineer and a very large cigar / reefer :)

  5. John 211
    Thumb Up

    Blue John

    Looks like somebody has been testing Google Voice on an iPhone

  6. seanj


    You know it went a little something like this...

  7. Rob 101


    Take Can of Petrol/Ignite Petrol?

  8. Tanuki

    This can only mean....

    New Pope elected. Scourging and Catechisms at 11.

  9. Goatan

    missed the obvious

    Someone clearly installed google voice on an iphone. Rather than allow voip calls it choose to incinerate itself and attempted to take google with it.

  10. Greg D
    Thumb Up

    It's not Friday is it?

    Could have sworn it was Thursday.

    Love the articles today.

  11. Peet McKimmie
    Thumb Down

    I can't see the photo. :-(

    El Tel's attempts at technowizardry have resulted in a white rectangle with the text string "This Movie Clip symbol covers the player area" across tye middle in Helvetica. I guess it must be my fault for viewing the page in Firefox under Linux. Naughty me.

  12. Barney Carroll



  13. Chris Harries


    Remember the IE/Netscape thing years back, there where cakes baked and MS put something outside their office...Google tried doing the same but burning a flag with the IE logo on it...more testing still needs to be done

  14. Jason Bloomberg
    Thumb Up

    That's Good News

    Any day now I expect to see a Google product announcement headline, "New Google combined Net Book-come-Phone, performs as good as the rest. Spontaneously bursts into flames, fire brigade called. Rogue third-party battery blamed. NDA's sought from all involved". Will the 'smiling campers' in the accompanying adverts have soot-black faces or will they be air-brushed to a paler tone for a Polish audience ?

    Full marks though for product testing on the roof, not in an office around developers with camera-phones and well away from other prying eyes. Oh wait ... maybe not.

    I also guess the roof's the place to be when Google's Streetview cars are on the prowl.

  15. jake Silver badge

    Looks to me ...

    One of those roof-top areas where the pariahs^Wsecond-class citizens^Wsmokers go to inhale the smoke from burning dried weeds without annoying the rest of us (until they get back in the building, reeking of said smoke, that is ...). A dry, breezy, cloudless day, and a flat, probably tarred, roof. My guess is a carelessly discarded match or cigarette butt. Why is it that smokers don't think of discarded matches, cigarette butts and attendant packaging as litter?

  16. Paul Murphy 1
    Paris Hilton

    Maybe someone typed 'google' into

    But a firewall stopped it from spreading further......

    Or maybe they were testing bbq/ip?

    that is all

    PH - cos if you rub her fast enough she'll burst into flames.

  17. Elmer Phud

    It's a gas

    Propane bottle on roof.

    Barbie got a bit out of hand?

  18. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Ballmer has been practising

    Did we find the debris of the incoming flying office chair?

    Also, nice article, though I'm pretty sure that your use of the term "Burning Man" (twice) infringe their copyright. They're touchy like that. Total freedom in a triple-reinforced armoured cocoon surrounded by barbed wires. But nicely padded and soft inside.

  19. ElNumbre

    Feeding the 5,000?

    According to ElTel, "Around 5,000 Google staff and employees of other firms based in the six-floor building were evacuated",

    5,000? I suspect they may have to be Umpa Lumpa's to be able to fit that many in, it doesn't look that big, either from Street View or Google Maps.

  20. Alan Esworthy

    Google's strategic planners...

    ...left their crystal ball sitting on a plastic table in the sunlight. Most of the smoke is from the smoldering goat entrails.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    black box

    The fire was on the roof, from an experimental shipping container loaded with servers and a little faulty wiring.

  22. Steve Evans


    @Rob 101 - Very good :-)

    I think I'm going to go with the iPhone left on wooden decking surface.

  23. TJ 3
    Thumb Up


    Someone finally killed that bloody camper!

  24. mr.K

    That is what I call a BBQ

    I am a great fan of all cooking that involves fire and a potential to get hurt. However, and not for lack of trying, I have not managed to take it so far that four fire trucks have had to turn up in response to my cooking.

    I for one salute our BBQ-ing overlords.

    PS: Anybody know if they were wearing safety "googles"?

  25. TeeCee Gold badge

    There's no smoke without.....

    I reckon they were hosting a corporate webchat on whether to go Windows, Linux or MacOS on the desktop for the future.....

  26. Richard 51

    Deliberate attack

    A Hitherto unknown feature of the MobileMe Service is that the iphone reports back any unauthorised apps being installed and Apple have the capability to send an instruction to said Iphone to self destruct.

  27. Anonymous Coward


    ...southern softies. Close the street and get an engine or two out for that piddly little thing.

    People up north (you know Leeds, West Midlands) have fags that burn more fiercely than that.


  28. Anonymous Coward

    No fire - just smoke...

    Not really a "blaze" is it - looks like someone left a sausage on the BBQ a little too long to me!

  29. MrVerbal
    Big Brother

    Aggressive business?

    Look at the smoke drift in the wind in the linked clip - chemical gas attack on a nearby rival search engine perhaps?

    Then again, someone should tell the spacecraft pilot that those fake rotors aren't turning fast enough to fool anyone.

  30. lukewarmdog

    Page for everything

    The Internet is srs bsns, nobody seems to understand that. If Google is going to be the *ultimate* search engine, sometimes it has to create its own searches. In this case there are now several pages for the entry "fire in Google building", jobs a good 'un and it's off to the pub whilst three fire engines put out the slightly-on-fire chair.

    Where are the police? I can see photographers. I don't pay my taxes so the police can stand

    around NOT arresting people whilst they take pictures.They could arrest any tall Twitterers as well whilst they're at it.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    From the looks of the smoke, and scale of the "fire" I'd say it was nothing more than a few bangers and burgers on a gas barbecue left unattended.

    Of course they needed to evacuate 5000 people, have the local roads blocked off, mobilise four fire engines and associated fire-fighter teams and get a police helicopter in the air.

    Not a disproportionate response at all.

  32. Trygve

    Amusingly, we are also in that building...

    76 Buckingham Palace Rd in case you are interested.

    It's a big building, and quite new, so a decent ratio of floorspace to footprint. Squeezing in 5000 people is probably possible if you ever managed to get to 100% occupancy, but certainly not in the last week of august ;-)

    They apparently have a proper roof terrace, so no tar-paper. According to a bloke I was chatting to, a gas cylinder caught fire (oops! who didn't check the connectors properly?) and then involved a potted palm tree that was nearby. As AC said above, LFB turned up mob-handed and shut down the entire neighbourhood and even a police chopper was circling overhead. Bit OTT but then that's what happens with fires in high-occupancy buildings - 'better safe than sorry' is a well-established rule.

    Big boost for the local pubs and coffee shops, although we were very unfortunate. Once we saw the smoke and realised it was a proper fire rather than a short-circuit we went into The Victoria next door - but then THEIR fire alarm went off and they threw us all out. NOOOO. Fortunately we'd just got a round in, so not all was lost, but the Plumbers Arms was ridiculously packed as a result.

  33. Dennis

    Is it just me ....

    Did anyone else read the start of the article as "Staff at Google's London bar".

    Loved the helicopter with slo-mo rotors. Clearly our overlords were taking an interest. I guess the staff were busy incinerating the remaining copies of the 'Rendlesham File'.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ MrVerbal

    I noticed that as well. But didn't realise that it was a spacecraft I just wrongly assumed it was an effect to do with frame rates or something, well pointed out.

  35. Tom 101

    It doesn't matter...

    ... the building is most likely still in beta!

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